Nations all but admit that they are helpless when it comes to the Islamic State’s social media talents which include recruitment. Yet, these same countries are enormously successful at scrubbing the internet and sanitizing social media thereby keeping its citizens in the dark regarding the extent of Islamic terrorist attacks, the occurrence of the terrorist attacks and the savagery of their misdeeds.
Until last Friday, there had been only one incident in which suicide bombers blew themselves up in a major European city — in London in 2005. Now German security experts believe almost anything is possible. The German government reacted promptly to the Paris attacks, increasing controls at borders, train stations, airports and other vulnerable locations. The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Germany’s domestic intelligence service, began paying even closer attention to the roughly 420 individuals in Germany classified as potentially dangerous Islamists. The surveillance network in the Salafist community was tightened to the greatest extent possible.
Nevertheless, the security services were forced to acknowledge that their hands are tied in other respects. The attacks in Paris were greeted with cheers in part of the German-language web, and young Islamists repeatedly shared images of the dead and of shell-shocked citizens on Snapchat and Twitter.
“And never pray for one of them who dies, nor stand at his grave, for they do not believe in Allah and his envoys, and they died as evildoers” supporters of “Wacht auf” (Wake Up), a Salafist group in Offenbach near Frankfurt, wrote on Facebook. A German-speaking fan of jihad wrote, supposedly from the “heart of the caliphate”: “IS is strong and capable of revenge.”
In the world of social media, the Islamic State is having a devastating effect — and, so far, the authorities in Germany and beyond have been hopelessly at a disadvantage….