When Hashtag Diplomacy Isn't Enough

Ashley Pratte
Ashley Pratte is a communications consultant in Washington, D.C. |

Reports show that ISIS has now threatened war against Twitter employees for blocking accounts associated to the Islamic State.

Are we all that surprised given that much of our initiatives against ISIS have been a slew of incompetent talking points and hashtag diplomacy? The State Department has been less than clear as to who our enemy is since they refuse to name radical Islam as the root of the problem.

The United States needs to take a firm stand against ISIS and all the evil that it represents. As ISIS beheads, burns, and tortures innocent human beings we continue to just stand idly by with our hands tied. As ISIS grows, American exceptionalism fades.

We live in a world where social media has a strong influence over our society but matters of foreign policy shouldn't be conducted via hashtag campaigns. ISIS has hacked CENTCOM and has sent powerful messages via YouTube, Twitter, and other social media outlets. ISIS also heavily recruits on social media which poses a danger as we hear more stories of young people running off to join ISIS. As a result of ISIS' deranged and horrific messages, Twitter has blocked accounts associated with the Islamic State. ISIS has warned that Twitter must allow for these accounts to remain active and not be blocked.

Since Twitter has done all that it can to block these hostile accounts, ISIS has attempted to fight back with aggressive messages and death threats. ISIS has reportedly told Twitter, "Your virtual war on us will cause a real war on you. You started this failed war…We told you from the beginning, it's not your war, but you didn't get it and kept closing our accounts, but we always come back. But when our lions come and take your breath, you will never come back to life."

This startling message should have us all on edge. ISIS has continuously proven that it keeps its word on its threats. It is time for strong diplomacy and to start calling ISIS what it is—an extremist group of radical Islamists. We must stop the word games. We must stop allowing ISIS to win the war. We must not cower to the terrorists. We must stop the empty threats—because the threats from ISIS certainly aren't empty. Despite what the State Department believes, giving ISIS access to jobs won't stop the evil rooted deep within them. The more that we twiddle our thumbs more innocent lives will be taken. How many more hashtag campaigns will we launch before realizing their ineffectiveness? But the ultimate question is, how much longer are we willing to wait before we see an ISIS attack here on American soil?

Ashley Pratte is a communications consultant in Washington, D.C.

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