Twitter has been adamant about blocking ISIS militants and supporters from posting the video and images of James Foley’s horrific beheading, even using the hashtag #ISISMediaBlackout to encourage other users to be conscious of what’s posted.
After having multiple ISIS accounts suspended, the group has ditched the social network in exchange for one that will have a more difficult time monitoring the extremists’ message.
Diaspora is their new network of choice — a nonprofit, social site that consists of a group of independently owned pods, which make it difficult for administrators to remove inappropriate content. ISIS is simply using pods beyond admin control.
The company has confirmed the group’s presence on their site, saying, “There is… no way for the project’s core team to manipulate or remove contents from a particular node in the network… This may be one of the reasons which attracted IS activists to our network.”
Diaspora’s spokesperson, Dennis Schubert, told Buzzfeed, “We are not offering a service, we just create the software driving the network… it’s very unfortunate to see violent groups using our software and as you already know we are working on getting the out of the network.”
Before Twitter shut down the militant group’s accounts, ISIS had developed their own app to auto-post messages to the Twitter accounts of anyone who downloaded it. They also used hashtag campaigns to push propaganda further.
Although they’ve moved on to Diaspora, it doesn’t mean that they’ve left Twitter for good. If the site relaxes its policies, they’ll likely return.
Regardless, it’s important that all users remain vigilant in protecting what’s exposed on social networks. It’s up to us to report any graphic or hateful messages, and protect the honor of those like James Foley.