In 2022 the Media Mujahidin – the media operatives who work on and offline in support of Salafi-Jihadi groups – have continued to maintain a persistent presence online and conduct influence operations amongst their primary, Arabic speaking, target audience.
This contrasts significantly with the dominant narrative which has been presented by both the transatlantic orthodoxy of Terrorism Studies and the trade associations backed by big social media platforms. That ‘success’ narrative claims Salafi-Jihadi groups, such as IS and AQ, have successfully been forced to use smaller or fringe platforms. These small and micro-platforms are targeted – so the narrative goes – because they lack the capacity of large tech platforms to build and maintain automated content moderation algorithms, and instead have to rely on slower human moderated systems.
However, as this article demonstrates, the Salafi-Jihadi movement has continued to exploit many of the biggest social media platforms, including WhatsApp with a userbase of around two billion accounts. In addition, the Media Mujahidin have continued to expand their reach by adopting a multiplatform communication paradigm, giving potential sympathisers many avenues with which to engage with their content.