Which country has more Daesh sympathizers on Twitter than Syria or Iraq?

Published August 18th, 2015 - 09:00 GMT
Of the 11 countries the Brookings Institution included, Saudi Arabia topped the list for most Daesh sympathizers on Twitter with nearly 25 percent. (AFP/File)
Of the 11 countries the Brookings Institution included, Saudi Arabia topped the list for most Daesh sympathizers on Twitter with nearly 25 percent. (AFP/File)

We've already established that Daesh (ISIS) knows how to work propaganda, composing of everything from videographers, to a staff that creates English-language magazines and radio bulletins, to Twitter accounts.

And there are lots of Twitter accounts. A report by the Economist earlier this week said there are more than 50,000 accounts of Daesh sympathizers from all over the world. 

Where they come from might be a bit of a surprise, though it probably shouldn't be. 

A study by the Brookings Institution followed the percentage of Daesh sympathizers out of 11 countries and found that Saudi Arabia topped the list for most Daesh sympathizers on Twitter in 2014. Second and third are Syria and Iraq.

Keep in mind, though, that this chart doesn't tell the whole story. Syria and Iraq are far less Twitter-obsessed and tech-savvy than Saudi Arabia; just because there are more Daesh sympathizers in the Saudi kingdom doesn't mean there's more Daesh support there. Access to working Internet in Syria and Iraq presents a challenge in itself.

And while Saudi Arabia is one of the most censored countries in the world, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has a pretty tight hold of freedom of speech. The moderate Syrians who may lean toward Daesh simply out of an alternative to the regime may be too afraid to say so.

Regardless, Saudi Arabia is one of the United States' closest allies in the Middle East — and considering it does have a tendency to crack down on speech, it's interesting to note; Daesh tweets are a problem in the kingdom that have fallen through the cracks. 

By Hayat Norimine


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