Posting a GIF image lands a 25 year old in prison in United States
The US government is taking its war on terror seriously and is looking to stop the online ISIS propaganda machinery in its tracks by arresting the known and unknown supporters of the terrorist group who spread its message on social media, be it with tweets or Facebook messages, or even GIFs. Posting such GIF can land even ordinary users in prison despite of First Amendment which guarantees freedom of expression in the United States.
A 25-year-old ISIS supported from Akron, Ohio was arrested on Thursday for allegedly inciting the murder of US servicemen on social media—specifically with a GIF displaying several photographs and names of members of the military.
Terrence J. McNeil has been accused of reblogging the GIF on his Tumblr on September 24 of this year, according to the criminal complaint against him.
The GIF by McNeil contained information of US military personnel which was leaked last year by Islamic State Hacking Division, a hacking group controlled by Junaid Hussain, a British hacker.
Hussain had been a part of some high profile hacking incidents last year targeting the US military and CENTCOM, was killed by a US drone strike in August of this year. McNeil allegedly posted the GIF on his pseudonymous Tumblr, which is still online. The account is filled with posts in support of ISIS, as well as Simpsons memes and animal pictures.
The complaint filed by the police contains names of Twitter handles like “Lone_Wolfe13,” in which McNeil allegedly stated his explicit support for ISIS and tweeted at other ISIS supporters messages like “just thinking about getting martyred puts a smile on my face.”
Though freedom of expression is guaranteed under the First Amendment of the constitution of America, the authorities has stated that McNeil’s Tumblr posts or tweets could not be seen as just exercising his right to free speech.