Islamic State’s propaganda and social media: dissemination, support, and resilience

Laura Wakeford, Laura Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter describes how the Islamic State (IS) used social media in sometimes innovative, sometimes less novel ways to advance its full-spectrum propaganda. The chapter takes a social psychological perspective to explain how and why the group’s social media strategy was effective, documenting IS’s ability to develop a coherent and cohesive shared social identity and brand through social media (particularly Twitter) interactions. It is argued that while IS responded to technological developments in online and social media to develop a sophisticated media strategy, at the same time, social media played an instrumental role in the development and evolution of IS itself. This chapter also offers an opportunity to critically examine methodological challenges, future research opportunities, and the conceptual implications of studying the activities of IS and other extremist groups online.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationISIS propaganda
Subtitle of host publicationa full-spectrum extremist message
EditorsStephane J. Baele, Katharine A. Boyd, Travis G. Coan
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages33
ISBN (Electronic)9780190932480
ISBN (Print)9780190932466, 9780190932459
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameCauses and consequences of terrorism series
PublisherOxford University Press


  • Islamic State propaganda
  • Social media
  • Internet
  • Online extremism
  • Twitter
  • Social identity theory


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