Islamic extremists being coaxed toward YouTube
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Islamic extremists are being instructed on how to use the popular video-sharing site YouTube as a way to disseminate propaganda videos, a U.S.-based terrorism monitor said on Tuesday.
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Last week, an extremist authored step-by-step instructions on posting video to YouTube, which he described as “one of the most famous and biggest international sites that publish sections of videos from all over the world.”
The posting encourages readers to post scenes of Western forces coming under attack to, it says, “shame the Crusaders by publishing clips of videos showing their losses, which they hid for a long time.”
Islamic extremists have long used the Internet as a tool to communicate with supporters and distribute propaganda but the latest posting specifically coaxes militants toward YouTube and touts it as a user-friendly tool.
YouTube, a unit of Google Inc., could not immediately be reached for comment on how it might respond to the types of postings described in the message.
The message author calls for a “YouTube Invasion” by militants and includes several screenshots showing step by step instructions on how to create a YouTube account and to upload material.
US to use Web 2.0 to win “war of ideas”: US image-maker
WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States is embracing social networks and other Web 2.0 tools to win the “war of ideas” with Islamic militants and other extremist groups, a top US policy-maker said Monday.
“In the war of ideas our core task in 2008 is to create an environment hostile to violent extremism,” said James Glassman, the US undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs.
“We do that in two ways — by undermining extremist ideologies and by encouraging young people to follow productive paths that lead away from terrorism,” Glassman said in a speech at the New America Foundation, a Washington-based think-tank.
“The best way to achieve our goals in public diplomacy is through a new approach to communicating, an approach that is made far easier because of the emergence of Web 2.0 or social networking technologies,” he said.
“We call our new approach Public Diplomacy 2.0,” said Glassman, who replaced Karen Hughes as the State Department’s top image-maker after the confidante of President George W. Bush stepped down from the post late last year.
“Al-Qaeda and other violent extremist organizations have exploited the Internet to their advantage but that advantage has rapidly diminished,” he said. “New technology gives the United States a significant comparative advantage over the terrorists.”
Glassman said it was vital that the US government adapt its tools and its message to the Internet era.
“In this new world of communications any government that resists new Internet techniques faces a greater risk — being ignored,” he said.
“Our major target audiences, especially the young, don’t want to see us lecture them, tell them what to think or how wonderful we are,” he added.
Glassman said the State Department and other government agencies were engaged in a variety of efforts to interactively engage the public.
He said that in partnership with NBC Universal, the Director’s Guild of America, and New York University, the State Department recently sponsored a YouTube video contest in which participants were asked to make a video answering the question “Democracy Is…?”
He said the US government would also increase partnerships with the private sector such as a conference being held in New York this week bringing together youth online groups from around the world.