Online Propaganda Builds Islamic State Brand in the Face of Military Losses by Sune Engel Rasmussen – Wall Street Journal
Islamic State has lost most of the territory it once held in Syria and Iraq. It is vying for survival with other, sometimes stronger, extremist groups. But one sphere where Islamic State still reigns supreme among terrorists is in cyberspace.
The group’s vast online presence is a critical recruitment and marketing tool that has helped it build a brutish brand using propaganda and sometimes false claims. Maintaining the perception that Islamic State can shape the actions of loyalists has become all the more important as its territorial control, or self-declared caliphate, has almost completely collapsed.
Last October, the group claimed to have inspired the Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock, who killed 59 people attending a country-music concert. A month earlier, Islamic State said it had planted a bomb on a U.K.-bound flight that was held in Paris for what officials called a “direct security threat.” Authorities in both cases rebuffed the group’s assertions…