Why are the Taliban Tuning Into Social Media?
Is it a surprise that the Taliban are embracing the world of social media to research, reach and promote to its audiences? Lets not fall into the false sense of security that social media wouldn’t be attractive to a range of individuals and groups regardless of whether their motives are sinister or not.
A BBC article highlights how the Taliban is using Facebook, a Q&A section on its website and other platforms to interact with individuals in what appears to be a very considered public relations approach. That’s right, you’ve read it correctly - the Taliban is embracing PR; no doubt taking a few leaves out the books of propaganda experts. There is a saying that is often used in the world of technology; “adapt or die” (which has a bitter taste given the subject matter and here) we’re seeing an approach in how even the most extreme of examples can find a niche to reach its target audience.
The Q&A section on the Voice of Jihad website (the official site of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban self-called name for its movement) is a relatively recent feature, with the BBC reporting it was added in February. The site affords the Taliban the platform to have conversations with its audiences, existing and potential (both local and further a field) and respond to questions across a variety of subject matter. The cynical minded could surmise that this could be an attempt to soften areas of comms to present different sides of that the website strives to achieve – creating entertaining stories from the world of media.
It has long been debated that future wars will be digital and virtual, and this certainly seems to be the reality that is being played out right now. If the article by The Guardian is an indication of what may transpire, cyber warfare will be high on the agenda of both sides (and many fractions in between).Continued on the next page