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ISIS influence on the decline as terrorists lose Twitter battles

The US government is taking the battle against terrorism online, countering extremist ISIS messaging with some powerful messages of its own.

US officials say that Twitter traffic for ISIS dropped 45 percent over the last two years.

Drew Angerer/Getty

The US government is claiming an online win against ISIS, saying the terrorist group's social media influence, and its ability to recruit, is declining.

Taking the battle to Twitter, US State Department officials say ISIS has seen a 45 percent drop in traffic on the social network over the past two years, the Associated Press reports.

The decline comes on the back of a push by the Global Engagement Center, a US government operation set up in March to help counter terrorist messaging and online propaganda. The GEC has fought ISIS propaganda with its own messages, including an image of a teddy bear made up of Arabic words and phrases, saying that ISIS "slaughters childhood" and ''kills innocence."

By disseminating images and messages in Arabic and sharing them through "credible voices" in local communities, officials hope to counter radical messaging on the front line.

Meanwhile, the private sector has also been working to diminish the effectiveness of terrorist organizations on the internet. In May, for instance, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and YouTube signed on to new European Union rules meant to curb the spread of hate speech and terrorist propaganda.

The US government is not new to the online battlefield. In April, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work said the US was "dropping cyberbombs" on ISIS, attempting to infiltrate its networks and counter messaging from within.

Speaking about its win against ISIS (also known as ISIL) on social media, Global Engagement Center head Michael Lumpkin said the terrorist organization was losing its dominance.

"We're denying ISIL the ability to operate uncontested online, and we're seeing their social media presence decline," he told AP. "Anti-ISIL audiences are increasingly vocal on social media. This only weakens ISIL's ability to recruit, a key aim of our messaging efforts."

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