NEW YORK — The number of Islamic State-related online postings has more than doubled in just a few weeks, according to a new study that highlights the group’s ability to influence people and influence events on the ground.
The number posted to the jihadist website Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — also known as ISIS — in the past week surpassed the same period last year, according the study by researchers at the Pew Research Center, which released the results Tuesday.
It was the first time since 2011 that more than half of the 1,829 postings to ISIS were made by a single day.
While some of the increased postings appear to have been driven by the ISIS campaign against Western targets in Syria and Iraq, the study said the spike in activity in the U.S. and Europe was likely due to increased concern over the Islamic State’s use of social media, which the group is now using to recruit.
“There is a strong connection between increased online engagement with the Islamic state and increased recruitment to its cause, and this is evident in both the number of posts and in the increase in the volume of posts,” said the report, titled “The Rise of ISIS: How the Islamic Group’s Global Reach Has Surged in 2017.”
“This new trend could be one of the primary drivers of ISIS’s growth,” it added.
The study also said the increase was due to ISIS’ use of digital media and the growing reach of its social media accounts.
Among other things, the group has been able to recruit large numbers of followers on social media and is able to reach audiences outside of Iraq, Syria and other Islamic countries through Twitter, Facebook and other platforms, according a study published in September.
In a statement, the Islamic Society of North America said it is “deeply concerned” about the study and would be looking into it.
For the study, the researchers analyzed the volume and number of postings to various Islamic sites over a three-week period, from Feb. 7 to Feb. 13, 2017.
They also analyzed the daily and weekly counts of the Islamic community’s online activity.
The study said about two-thirds of the postings were made online, while the rest were online and in video, audio and written texts.
Of the more than 8.2 million total postings, about 6 million were online in the first week of the study.
The remaining 4.3 million were in video and text.
The researchers analyzed 2.8 million posts, using the same methodology.
They found that more posts were made to Islamic sites in the United States, including the New York Times, The Huffington Post, CNN, The Washington Post and other U.N. organizations, compared with the same time period last November.
In contrast, less than 1 percent of the total posts to ISIS on the sites in Britain, Germany, France, Russia and Spain were online, according.