The power Facebook can have as a marketing tool is obvious. There are 1.44 billion monthly active users, 936 million of whom use the social network every day. In fact, a shocking six percent of the total time spent on the Internet by everyone around the world is spent on Facebook. Naturally, about 47% of marketers believe that Facebook is a necessary tool for brand advertisement.
The thing is, they’re not the only ones.
Extremists in ISIS have used social media to much success, and spectacularly foolishly as well. Not only have sites like Facebook and Twitter helped them recruit a staggering number of people, but counter terrorists have also used social media against them.
According to John Mulligan, the deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center, the Islamic State has published over 1,700 videos, pictures, and magazines, and has an audience reach of 200,000 people on Twitter. As Catholic Online reports, the Islamic State’s public relations shrewdness has inspired 180 Americans to sign up.
“Its social media presence is more widespread than any other terrorist group,” said Mulligan.
However, social media is a double-edged sword. The U.S. Air Force says that it was able to bomb an ISIS target in the Middle East based off of a single social media post.
According to General Hawk Carlisle, airmen in Florida with the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group saw a comment on social media which led them to coordinate an airstrike on an ISIS command center.
“The guys that were working down out of Hurlburt, they’re combing through social media and they see some moron standing at this command,” said Carlisle. “And in some social media open forum, bragging about the command and control capabilities.”
They deployed three missiles and destroyed the building.
“It was a post on social media to bombs on target in less than 24 hours,” said Carlisle. “Incredible work when you think about.”