Counter Extremism Project Praises Exposure of Prominent ISIS Twitter Propagandist

(New York, NY) – Yesterday, Channel 4, the United Kingdom’s award-winning flagship news program, exposed the identity of @ShamiWitness, one of the most influential, English-speaking, Twitter-based ISIS sympathizers.

The prolific ISIS propagandist, an executive at a Bangalore, India-based corporation, had more than 17,000 followers. Almost immediately after being exposed, his account became inactive. His disappearance from Twitter is a critical victory in the fight against those using social media platforms to recruit followers and promote violence and intolerance. Since yesterday, CEP has noted dozens of other high-profile extremist accounts that have either been deactivated or have taken action to protect their tweets from being viewed publicly.

“The flurry of activity that has followed the removal of @ShamiWitness from Twitter reinforces  what CEP has been saying for months, that targeting the leaders of these online extremist cells is a key component in the fight against ISIS, ” said Ambassador Mark Wallace, Chief Executive Officer of the organization. “Those who are still active online are now clearly on notice that they too will face exposure. Additionally, during a phone interview, @ShamiWitness reveals his hypocrisy by praising ISIS beheadings and brutality, yet begs to retain his anonymity to protect his own job, and personal security in India's corporate community."​

Two months ago, the Counter Extremism Project launched its Digital Disruption campaign; an aggressive and highly effective initiative aimed at exposing extremists on Twitter who use the platform to radicalize, recruit and spread violent propaganda. CEP has been actively attempting to engage with Twitter on the issue of extremists using their platform to encourage violence. The organization has sent three letters detailing its findings and asking for a meeting and has received only one response.

“Once again, we are asking Twitter to sit down with us to develop new protocols and guidelines for reporting individuals who are exploiting their platform for evil,” said Fran Townsend, President of CEP. “If we can finally get cooperation from Twitter we can do irrevocable and permanent damage to online cells of extremists like those surrounding @ShamiWitness. We know what needs to be done and how it can be accomplished. I am hopeful that this news will be a turning point in the fight against ISIS.”

About The Counter Extremism Project (CEP)

The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) is a not-for-profit, non-partisan, international policy organization formed to combat the growing threat from extremist ideology. Led by a renowned group of former world leaders and former diplomats it will aim to combat extremism by pressuring financial support networks, countering the narrative of extremists and their online recruitment, and advocating for strong laws, policies and regulations.

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On September 26, 2018, an improvised explosive device planted at the foot of a bridge exploded, killing eight soldiers in the lead vehicle of a Burkinabe military convoy traveling in northern Burkina Faso. 

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