For a few brief weeks, you could see posts from the Pakistani Taliban in your Facebook feed, right next to Post articles and baby photos. But over the weekend, Facebook shut down a recruiting page for the TTP, or Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan — much to nobody’s surprise.
“Plz spread it,” one of the posts reportedly read. “This fb account ma [sic] be deleted.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, the TTP page was recruiting contributors for a new quarterly magazine called Ahyah-e-Khilafat, or Sign of the Caliphate. It had 281 “likes” as of Friday evening and included posts in English — mostly bland, PG-rated job postings for positions like video editor, translator and writer of “jihadi current affairs” and Islamic movements.
In fact, the most intriguing part of the now-defunct page may be the people who “liked” it. Regardless of your motive, identifying yourself as the “friend” of a known terrorist organization takes guts — or fervor, or social media ignorance, or some combination of the three. While there’s been no suggestion that the government tracked this specific page, the FBI has in the past monitored the social network as a part of certain terrorist investigations, in some cases even using it as evidence.
In either case, this goes a long way to explaining why terrorist organizations have mostly stuck to niche Internet outlets to spread their messages. Hamas is the notable exception — that organization’s Twitter account, @alqassambrigade, has nearly 43,000 followers and has stayed up despite arguments that it verbally threatened Israel.
Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex.) asked the FBI to take that account down, telling The Hill in November that Twitter “arms them with the ability to freely spread their violent propaganda and mobilize in their war on Israel."