The collective of hacking activists known as Anonymous declared Friday as Troll ISIS Day, asking social media users to join a campaign to mock the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or Daesh, NBC News reported. Using platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, users were asked to edit images and videos of the terror group’s members in humorous ways, and proliferate the hashtag #Daeshbags, referencing an Arabic acronym that the terror group hates to be called.
Governments and tech executives say much work still needs to be done to fight ISIS online, and Anonymous’ action attempted to get more people involved, Forbes reported. ISIS uses social media in its attempts to recruit new members, but how effective Troll ISIS Day is unknown.
Gabriella Coleman, who chairs the department of scientific and technological literacy at McGill University in Montreal, said many online campaigns like Anonymous’ are effective at raising awareness about issues, but Troll ISIS Day isn’t likely to achieve much, CBS News reported. The operation also risked backfiring, as some tweets meant to be part of the campaign attacked more than just ISIS.
"You know there are a lot of people within Anonymous who were excited about and also dreading [Troll ISIS Day.] They were dreading it, knowing that a lot of material would be offensive to Muslims," Coleman told CBS News. "One of the things I'm looking out for are memes and images that set out to truly offend ISIS itself and not Muslims as a whole."
— Anonymous (@LatestAnonNews) December 11, 2015
Coleman said what was the social media push on Friday most likely won’t hinder ISIS activities — posting a funny meme of the terror group won’t stop it from recruiting. What it did do, however, was open up the conversation about ISIS and how it is viewed by the wider public, outside Anonymous.
— Occupy Wall Street (@OccupyWallStNYC) December 11, 2015
— Alessandro Barbin (@ale_barbin) December 11, 2015
"I think terrorists — ISIS — are seen as one of the most humorless of organizations on planet Earth," Coleman said. "Anonymous, who are all into humor, are using their offensive brand of humor to make that point that terrorists don't have a shred of humor."