The British government has launched a Twitter account designed to counter the social media campaigns of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
UK against ISIL was launched on Thursday by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The account states that its aim is to provide “updates on the UK government’s ongoing work to defeat ISIL.”
Among its first tweets was a video promoting British efforts in combatting the terrorist group.
“To defeat ISIL the UK is playing a leading role in the global coalition” it said. “We are militarily removing territory from ISIL. We are cutting off ISIL finances, reducing the number of fighters travelling to join ISIL and providing humanitarian aid.”
A spokesperson from the Foreign Office said the United Kingdom was a key part of the coalition’s efforts to defeat ISIL. “Our new twitter account @UKagaisntISIL has been created to inform and engage the UK public on what action the UK government and its partners in the Global Coalition are taking to defeat this brutal terrorist group.”
However Charlie Winter, special researcher at counter-terrorism think-tank the Quilliam Foundation, has suggested that the account could be a response to the leaked memo of United States under-secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs Richard Stengel, in which he expressed concerns that the coalition narrative was being outshone by that of ISIL.
“We are reactive – we think about ‘counter-narratives’, not ‘our narrative’,” Stengel wrote.
Between 700 and 1500 British citizens have travelled abroad to join ISIL, and the organization makes use of social media to attract and encourage new recruits.