UAE launches online fight against Islamic State group

UAE launches online fight against Islamic State group
2 min read
08 July, 2015
A team of IT and social media specialists in the UAE will counter propaganda from IS from a new communications base in Abu Dhabi.
The Islamic State group have harnessed social media to promote its massacres [AFP]
The US and UAE governments launched a new digital communications centre on Wednesday that will take on the Islamic State group online.

The Sawab Centre, meaning right or proper war, will be on the frontline of the online fight against IS' sleek and modern propoganda wing.

Based in Abu Dhabi, the counter-extremist group released YouTube videos and Twitter messages on Wednesday in Arabic and English to mark its launch.

Emirati and US ministers said the centre will be part of the international coalition's fight against IS by challenging the group's propaganda and "amplify moderate and tolerant voices from across the region".

"Recent tragic events in the Middle East region and beyond have demonstrated once again the stark contrast between Daesh's (IS) vision for the future and that of civilized people," the joint statement read.

IS media experts have used expertly produced promotional videos and deftly harnessed social media messages to spread battlefield action, beheadings and hate to supporters around the world.

IS uses the internet and social media as tools to recruit new members and instill fear in its enemies. 

Experts say that videos of its grusome massacres have helped spread fear against its opponents, which led to mass desertions in Iraq and Syrua. 

The extremists now control most of northern Iraq and half of Syrian territory.

Journalists were not allowed to attend the project's unveiling or visit the centre.

Although Sawab's tech and social media experts have been busy with testing operations and developing its branding over the past three months, it still does not have a website of its own.

A planned Facebook page and YouTube channel is expected to take several more weeks to develop.

Sawab comes four years after the US State Department set up its own anti-extremist presence online known as the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications. Its aim has been to counter propaganda from extremist groups such as IS and al-Qaeda.