December 3, 2015

The Tweets Aren’t Stopping the Islamic State

After review, State may tone back its counter-propaganda.

A six-person panel of marketing experts formed by the State Department to study its efforts in countering the propaganda produced by the Islamic State recently told the department what we said last year about the program: The State Department is the wrong voice for the job. As a result, the department is thinking about toning back its flame war with the Islamic State over Twitter, according to The Washington Post. The paper requested the 100-page report, created by people whose experience included time at Google and Twitter, from the State Department before Thanksgiving, but was declined. According to officials familiar with the report, the panel looked at the branding of the two organizations and realized the government’s brand was lacking. It makes sense: If someone is considering going past words to pick up arms and enact violence against the West, then the last organization they will listen to is the U.S. government. Therein lies the problem with hashtag diplomacy and that’s why the United Kingdom decided to go beyond words to bomb the Islamic State.

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