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ISIS Bell Pottinger Marketing

Pentagon admits funding online propaganda war against Isis


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

October 3, 2016 | 2 min read

The Pentagon has admitted it enlisted PR firms to combat the Islamic State’s propaganda machine on social media, according to a report from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

The Pentagon

The Pentagon

An investigation into the departments PR spend found that it, between 2006 to 2011, paid $540m to British PR firm Bell Pottinger to, among other things, create fake al Qaeda propaganda videos that could track viewers across the web.

Following this, the Pentagon has admitted it is also channeling its PR efforts into toppling ISIL.

It said that a group was harnessed to build a “robust online program” to combat the “lies and deception” of the militant regime. Without going into detail, it said that it used “truthful information directed toward regional audiences to combat ISIL’s lies and deception”.

Notably, in recent months the slick PR machine of ISIL looks to be grinding to a halt, according to The Drum contributor Ian Burrell. Some of this work could arguably be tracked to the Pentagon's counter-propaganda efforts.

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