Defence is fighting ISIS online, but we don’t know it works


fight-daesh-twitter

Australia has taken to Twitter to counter Islamic State narratives. Though its approach — focusing on the facts — builds on previous failures, it’s difficult to know what works.

The Australian Defence Force’s latest initiative in the war on the Islamic State, a Twitter account disputing “Daesh lies”, builds on lessons from the problems encountered by earlier attempts at countering IS propaganda — but nobody really knows if it will work.

The @fight_DAESH account, which became the object of unwanted attention when one of its operators contacted a Buzzfeed journalist via private message, aims to disprove incorrect claims made by IS sympathisers online.

Is it all just a show to make the government look tough? A madcap experiment bound to fail? Well, no — but there are still plenty of uncertainties surrounding such an approach.

@fight_DAESH will not enter into debate with individual IS accounts, according to Defence — an strategy undertaken by a previous iteration of the American State Department’s Think Again, Turn Away program.

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