Supporters of the Islamic State terror group tried to set up their own social media network on Sunday, to avoid the public forum of Twitter — unfortunately for them, it was out of service by Monday.
The site is called “Khelafabook” after the Arabic word for “caliphate,” and spelled “5elafabook” using a widespread shorthand for typed Arabic. It would have served as a private alternative to Facebook, where terrorism supporters could communicate without as much public scrutiny.
By Monday, Reuters reports, the site was disabled, while the corresponding Twitter account was suspended. (RELATED: Should Twitter Banish ISIS Fans, Or Track Them?)
Instead, its front page bore a statement, clarifying that it is “an independent site and is not sponsored by the Islamic state.” It goes on to say that “the purpose of launching the site was to clarify to the whole world that we do not only carry guns and live in caves as they imagine.” But it ends with the message, “thanks for the media unwilling services… die in your anguish.”
The Arabic version of the message includes a smiling face emoticon after the cheeky thank-you to the media. The angry valediction is an apparent reference to Quran 3:119, a verse suggesting that Muslims use the phrase against those who falsify their Islam, and who “are not loving you, while you believe in the Scripture.”
The original, semi-functional version of the site was built with a tool called SourceKit, used for do-it-yourself social networks.
Speaking at the Brookings Institution on Wednesday, terrorism scholar J.M. Berger told The Daily Caller News Foundation that supporters of ISIS create these kinds of independent platforms “every two months or more often,” and that the attempts “all pretty much go like this.” He pointed out that Khelafabook and its predecessors are “not official ISIS operations,” though private “websites and forums” do exist under the group’s direct, official control.
Anonymous, the worldwide hacker group, has allegedly claimed credit for the disruption, according to technology news sites including The Drum and SiliconAngle. The anti-authoritarian group expressed intentions to permanently disrupt Islamic State activities online in February.
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