The best way to stop ISIS recruitment — according to the Internet at least — might be anime. In an attempt to erase the visibility of the terrorist group ISIS, Internet activists have taken steps to Google bomb image searches that include their name.
Type “ISIS” into Google and you’ll be faced with images of masked men brandishing AK-47s or worse, but a movement on the Internet (first started in Japan in February following killings of two Japanese hostages by ISIS) hopes to replace that violent imagery with an anime drawing of a 19-year-old green-haired melon-eating girl called “ISIS-chan,” using nothing but search engine optimization.
The campaign is an interesting, modern take on non-violence that addresses a practical concern about the pipeline of extremists headed toward Syria and Iraq. Though the algorithm that determines the way Google sorts image search results remains a secret to us plebes, SEO basically determines that the more popular the image is then the odds are that it will show up in more search results online.
The activists behind ISIS-chan hope that by putting out a call on the Internet to create new images of their fictional female, the image will help stifle the oppressive message of the terrorist group that is so dependent on social media and the Internet to spread its message of hate.
The anonymous activists have set a few ground rules: no insulting Islam, no showing religious symbols, no gross stuff, and no appropriation of the real life hostages that ISIS use as pawns in their terroristic game.
Though it’s still a new phenomenon that may come and go, ISIS-chan is a clever way of collecting people together and quashing the easiest way ISIS permeates the culture. It’s the most patriotic thing anime has ever done.