@ShamiWitness arrest rattles ISIS’ cages on Twitter

Joyce Karam reports: The arrest of Mehdi Masroor Biswas, author of the highly influential pro-ISIS twitter account @ShamiWitness, on Saturday in Bangalore, India, is putting jihadist tweeps on notice. Deactivation, suspension and anxious-ridden tweets have been widely visible in the last two days, while more questions are being raised to improve Twitter’s anti-extremism tools and prevent ISIS from using it as a platform.

“He became a hub for ISIS recruits and propaganda,” that’s how Frances Townsend, president of the “Counter extremism Project” (CEP), sums up the rise and fall of Shami Witness, who raked up more than 18,000 followers on Twitter in the last two years.

From his executive office in India’s “silicon valley,” Shami Witness cheered on ISIS and its reign of horror more than 4,000 km away in Iraq and Syria. His outing and arrest this week after a Channel 4 investigation is a “very good development,” Townsend tells Al Arabiya News, proving that an anonymous address and fake Twitter handles are no guarantee for impunity. [Continue reading…]

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