ISIS has been widely credited, perhaps wrongfully, as having a stellar social media strategy. One friend, oddly enough, was even the target of their ire for an ill-placed dog photo with a hashtag they were trying to hack. For hours one afternoon, she was cleaning out and blocking terrorist after terrorist as they shared and reshared her doggy pic, as it went viral across the Middle East for no discernable reason.
At any rate, ISIS is, apparently, the product of the #Selfie generation. Only they haven’t, it seems, grasped the concept of the “location services” widely available on social media platforms, which tag your photos with all sorts of metadata including, but not limited to, your exact location. Fortuantely for intelligence gatherers, as ISIS proudly snaps photos of their own smiling mugs without shutting off their GPS, they’re providing very accurate data to coalition forces, which are now using ISIS’s #selfie habit to blow them to smithereens.
OPSEC isn’t the Islamic State group’s strong suit.
Airmen at Hurlburt Field, Florida, used social media posts by the insurgent group to track the location of an Islamic State group headquarters building. Twenty-two hours later, three joint direct attack munitions destroyed the target, said Gen. Hawk Carlisle, commander of Air Combat Command, at a June 1 speech in Arlington, Virginia.
“The [airmen are] combing through social media and they see some moron standing at this command,” Carlisle said at the speech, which was sponsored by the Air Force Association. “And in some social media, open forum, bragging about command and control capabilities for Da’esh, ISIL, And these guys go ‘ah, we got an in.’
“So they do some work, long story short, about 22 hours later through that very building, three JDAMS take that entire building out. Through social media. It was a post on social media. Bombs on target in 22 hours.
“It was incredible work, and incredible airmen doing this sort of thing.”
By conservative estimates, ISIS has posted about 1500 such photos. In response, the Air Force itself has dropped 14,000 bombs, killing about 13,000 enemy fighters and destroying about a thousand ISIS vehicles. Not all of thse drops are the result of ISIS’s Instagram account, but lets just say its been helpful.
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