Soon after the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) confirmed that it had opened a Facebook page to recruit people for its propaganda machinery, the page has been removed by the networking site. On Friday, TTP spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan had confirmed to AFP that they were temporarily using Facebook for a recruitment drive before launching the outfit’s own website.
The following day, the page was removed from Facebook. By this time, according to Facebook regulars, the TTP page had 281 likes. In its first post, dated October 25, the TTP said: “Umar Media [TTP’s media wing] is proud to announce online job opportunities. Job description is video editing, translations, sharing, uploading, downloading and collection of required data.”
While posting this recruitment notice itself, the TTP appears to have anticipated the removal of its page from Facebook. The post provided an email address and asked readers to “plz spread it” as the “Facebook account may be deleted”.
Through the Facebook page, Umar Media also sought to recruit contributors for media work and the forthcoming publication Ayah-e-Khilafat (Sign of the Caliphate). The page said it will be an official quarterly magazine for which Umar Media was asking writers to submit articles “on a topic of your choice” or on jihadi current affairs, history, Islamic movements or the plight of Muslims.
The TTP is not alone among ‘proscribed’ organisations to use social media networks for spreading their message. The Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat — the new name under which the Sipah-e-Sahaba operates after it was banned — is active on Twitter as is the Jamaat-ud-Da’wah (JuD). Hafiz Saeed, the JuD chief, himself has an official Twitter account and both these accounts are being used by the organisation to reinvent itself.
In fact, after the JuD offered help to the U.S. in dealing with the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, the managers of the official Twitter account were posting media coverage on the offer that appeared across the world, generating a discourse online.