Friday, January 8, 2016

Obama Combat ISIS Online Propaganda; Will Focus State Dept. Program to Erode IS Appeal

The Obama administration is in the process of overhauling its faltering efforts to combat the online propaganda of ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and other terrorist groups, U.S. officials said, reflecting increasing White House frustrations with ineffective efforts to cut into ISIS's use of social media to draw recruits and incite attacks, the Washington Post website reports today (January 8, 2016).

Officials will create a counter-terrorism task force, which will be based at the Department of Homeland Security but aims to enlist dozens of federal, state, and local agencies. Other moves include revamping a State Department program that was created to serve as an information war room to challenge the Islamic State online and erode its appeal.

The unit at the State Department will turn its focus toward helping allies craft more localized anti-terrorism messages and will stop producing any videos or other material in English -- ending a campaign that had been derided by critics.

The moves come at a time of increasing public anxiety and criticism of the administration's strategy after recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California that were linked to or encouraged by the Islamic State.

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