General: Social media post led to strike against ISIS

General: Social media post led to strike against ISIS
© Getty Images

A general suggested at an event that the Air Force was able to target an attack on a building used by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) based on a single social media post, according to an account published by Defense Tech.

“It was a post on social media to bombs on target in less than 24 hours,” Gen. Hawk Carlisle said during an Air Force Association event. “Incredible work when you think about.”


“The guys that were working down out of Hurlburt, they’re combing through social media and they see some moron standing at this command. And in some social media, open forum, bragging about the command and control capabilities for Daesh, ISIL. And these guys go: ‘We got an in.’ So they do some work, long story short, about 22 hours later” the building had been destroyed by a strike, he said.

ISIS has made aggressive use of social media to recruit sympathetic young people to its cause and communicate more broadly with the public. A March estimate from the Brookings Institute found that there were at least 46,000 Twitter accounts used by supporters of ISIS between September and December last year.

Their penetration on social media has allowed them to distribute and leverage the power of videos of executions of prisoners conducted by the group, including several Americans.

Social media platforms have moved to suspend users associated with the group, but the authors of the Brookings paper found those were not successful on a broad scale.

“Account suspensions do have concrete effects in limiting the reach and scope of ISIS activities on social media,” they wrote. “They do not, at the current level of implementation, eliminate those activities, and cannot be expected to do this.”