ISIS' best friends: al Qaeda, al Shabbab and...Twitter?

Here are a but a few of the ISIS terrorist organization's recent accomplishments: systematic beheadings and crucifixions in Syria and Iraq of “enemies’—including clerics and children; ethnic cleansing of Christians from Mosul, where they lived for two thousand years; destruction of sites holy to Muslims, Christians and Jews; the murder of four innocents at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium.

For months now, experts have been warning that ISIS’ brutality far surpasses even that of Al Qaeda and that its power was growing exponentially.

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ISIS’ wide-ranging murderous path enroute to expanding its Islamic Caliphate was so brutal that it forced President Obama to order U.S. military intervention in Iraq to forestall the certain murder of 40,000 Christians and other trapped minorities at the hands of these terrorists.

Without question ISIS is a dangerous geo-political game-changer that has already changed the map and the balance of power in the Middle East.

How far does their threat extend? No one knows for sure. At a meeting we had last month with French President Hollande at the Elysee palace, he confirmed that 1,000 French citizens had trained in Syria [many with ISIS], most had returned, many of them were armed. “We don’t know where many of them are”, he admitted. The situation, in other western democracies, from Germany to Canada, Australia and yes, the USA, is similar. Intelligence and law enforcement are working overtime to quantify the threat and leaders are holding their breath, hoping against hope that the next terrorist assault doesn’t happen on their watch.

Thanks to incredibly irresponsible attitude of one of the most powerful social networking platforms, those threats are expanding exponentially.

Not three minutes after Obama announced from the White House his decision to use the U.S. military in Iraq to save the helpless refugees, one of ISIS’ main English language support groups, @IslamicCaliphateNews tweeted—“ Means its time to activate USA sleeper cells”. This is only the latest of nearly 3,800 tweets by this group alone to its more than 1,100 followers. Add to this a variety of other so-called support groups and pro-ISIS individuals and you have but one of countless active pro-terrorist social networking platforms.

Last week, after repeated questions from me to the brain trust at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco as to whether they remove [let alone bar] postings by ISIS, their response was “not necessarily… It depends on what is being said.” The Wiesenthal Center presented Twitter with a series of tweeted beheadings, too gruesome to reproduce here. Those were removed, but others like them and other pro-terrorist tweets designed to recruit, fundraise, and denigrate their enemies, are tweeted and re-tweeted.

I asked Twitter if they would at least use the baseline of U.S. State Department and European Union’s lists of terrorist groups in order to take the necessary steps to bar those organizations from using Twitter. The answer was no.

Twitter’s incredible marketing potential netted it 1.8 billion dollars from its IPO. Yet today, it has still done virtually nothing to stop it from becoming terrorist’s marketing and propaganda weapon of choice. This technology provides the perfect global online fit for ISIS’ expanding global reach.

So what can Twitter do?

It can follow Facebook’s lead. At my latest meeting with the social networking giant, they confirmed how a company with over a billion separate pages approaches the challenges of digital terrorism and hate. First—no terrorist group is allowed to use their service. Secondly, they have deployed in-house teams of experts in the U.S., Europe and Asia to thwart the ongoing efforts by bigots, terrorists and their supporters to use Facebook. And they are applying certain digital strategies to make it more difficult for the evildoers to get traction through their service.

Facebook has clear rules the company strives to live up to. They have real people accessible to groups like the Simon Wiesenthal Center when they screw up or when a new extremist group emerges from the sewers to threaten the local neighborhood or the world.

But not Twitter. I just received this latest tweet from @IslamicCaliphateNews.

“Looks like the world won’t be a safe place for American{s} and Jews anymore.”

In the dangerous world we live in today, Twitter seems all too comfortable enabling the genociders and their supporters. Their arrogance places all of us and our cherished freedoms at risk.

Cooper is the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and founded its Digital Terrorism and Hate Project.