Throughout the rise of ISIS, the Obama Administration has talked up the idea of presenting counter-ISIS propaganda on social media as the end-all, be-all way to stop the group’s international recruitment. Earlier this year, officials talked up centralizing the cross-departmental messages on ISIS to stay “on-message” against ISIS.
But beyond ISIS being a bad thing, the administration never really settled on much of a message, and unsurprisingly, their ham-fisted attempts to get bureaucrats to send out anti-ISIS tweets and the like have failed seriously, with officials looking for scapegoats.
The immediate target is the social media companies themselves, as the administration has brought Facebook, Google, and Twitter employees in on a bunch of conferences, and seemed to just assume those guys would come up with a good message. Twitter notes that they “don’t do” messaging strategy, and that individual tweets will always be more effective than something designed by Twitter’s committee.
The White House, ultimately, wanted to advance a successful message that they knew they couldn’t come up with, and expected companies that aren’t in the message-developing business to fill in the blanks. It was a plan destined for failure and unsurprisingly, it has failed.