(CBS SF) — The Twitter hashtag #napaquake appears to be part of Islamic militants’ latest social media strategy for spreading their propaganda across the Internet.
As images emerged of toppled buildings, mobile homes on fire and buckled streets in the North Bay following Sunday’s magnitude 6 earthquake, propagandists turned to the Twitter hashtag trending locally to post images of dead U.S. soldiers and militant Islamic slogans.
Among the images tagged with #napaquake Sunday included prominent American buildings blown-up and messages accusing the U.S. of torture.
أم بلال الشامي#خلافة (@SaliloSawarim) August 24, 2014
مناصر#خ لافة (@alka3_ka3) August 24, 2014
بنت الجزيرة #خلافة (@LL5550) August 24, 2014
Purported militants have previously hijacked other popular hashtags, such as the World Cup and Ferguson protests, to amplify their message and show support of ISIS, the organization in Syria and Iraq that claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and beheading of American journalist James Foley.
San Francisco-based Twitter has pushed back by removing any photos of the beheading, going so far to even suspend accounts circulating the imagery. But it remains unclear whether the hijacks are increasing and what, if any, kind of action social media companies will take to monitor news feeds.
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