Twitter, the social media platform du jour, offers unique advantages to users. Its short but sweet sound bite format and easy transmission abilities can captivate an audience accustomed to constant and condensed media bombardment. It allows movements to easily reach a global audience and challenge opponents. Twitter also acts as an ideological microphone, facilitating framing and belief dissemination. Given these benefits, it is unsurprising that many Islamic social movements now consider Twitter to be a valuable asset. In this essay, I will provide a comprehensive analysis of how Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (HSM or Al-Shabaab for short), a militant al-Qaeda ally operating in Somalia, employs a Twitter account as a framing tool and method of contention. I examine Al-Shabaab's tweets, photos and followers from three lenses: intended functions of the Twitter account, target audience, and thematic messages. Essentially, I analyze why, whom and how: why Al-Shabaab uses Twitter, whom it is trying to reach, and how it is attempting to establish that connection. By understanding what Al-Shabaab seeks to change and whom it seeks to attract, we can further grasp its inner ideological gears.
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