The Sawab Centre, a joint initiative by the Governments of the United Arab Emirates and the United States to fight Daesh's extremist ideology online, has recently launched its official Instagram account. The step comes in furtherance of the Centre's ongoing efforts to combat the spread of violent extremism on social media networks.
In launching its new Instagram account, the Centre aims to expand its reach and deliver its message to a broader audience. Instagram is widely popular among users in the 15 – 35 year-old age group given its ease of use and its content-sharing features. Instagram is also the true embodiment of the phrase ‘a picture is worth a thousand words' due to its appealing visual format. The photos and short videos shared on this important platform help deliver messages visually and allow users to interact and share these messages.
Daesh makes extensive use of social media platforms, both public and encrypted. The purpose of Daesh's posts and its twisted propaganda is to promote the organisation's so-called ‘achievements' by sensationalising acts of terror conducted in Syria and Iraq and around the region and the world.
The Sawab Centre's objective is to amplify the voices of moderation against Daesh by using social media platforms and allowing the silent majority to express their opinions. Due to the great influence that social media has on public opinion, especially among youth, the Centre aims to expand its fight against the radical and extremist ideologies of Daesh and any other likeminded organisation by leveraging various social media platforms.
The Sawab Centre launched its Twitter account (@SawabCenter) in July 2015. Since its inception, the Centre has applied an editorial policy that focuses on using a credible and balanced approach with the goal of revealing the truth behind Daesh's lies and propaganda. It also delivers a mix of news, analysis and religious content in addition to appealing visual content, such as photos, short videos and infographics.
In addition, the centre regularly launches targeted campaigns that counteract extremist views and ideologies. The most recent campaign focused on "National Pride" and was meant to showcase the uniqueness and variety of Middle Eastern nations. It highlighted sentiments of pride in one's country, and also aimed to counteract the kind of radical thinking that seeks to demolish borders and only hinders the progress and prosperity of nations.
Even though the Centre was established less than six months ago, it has already made a remarkable impact, with the number of views of its campaigns already surpassing 420 million.