Al Qaeda’s Technological Evolution
Since 9/11, Al Qaeda has recognized the importance of using the media, specifically social media, to spread their message to followers.
Osama bin Laden cut himself off from direct access to the Internet during his final years in Pakistan as he attempted to elude the CIA. But the terror group he founded has been able to seize the power of the Web to spawn an army of online followers who will prolong al-Qaida's war against the West long after his demise.
Unlike its Afghan Taliban allies, who banned television when they were in power, al-Qaida has never rejected modern technology and recognized the importance of an online presence before Sept. 11. But its early efforts were fairly rudimentary. Since then, the group and its affiliates have exploited the Internet to rally and connect supporters, and are very quick to adopt new technology.
Al-Qaida's media production arm, As-Sahab, now produces videos that look like professionally edited documentaries or television news broadcasts that are distributed by Al-Fajr, the group's online media organization, to major militant websites. The videos, which often contain flashy computer graphics, are then uploaded to scores of other sites by al-Qaida supporters.
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