With the use of social media, terrorists can quickly captivate an audience across the globe. What are some techniques that counterterrorism professionals, including support staff, have at their fingertips to curtail and counter widespread media dissemination by terrorists? Remember, one of the basic necessities of terrorism is an audience.
In response to your peers, reflect on what you learned in this course in discussing the future of counter terrorism. In addition to the use of social media, how might terrorists use technology to plan or carry out attacks? Will the technique that your peer suggested be sufficient in countering these new tactics, or are there others that are more appropriate?
Textbook: Counterterrorism, Chapters 3 and 11
- Chapter 3 covers various factors that contribute to the decision to become involved in terrorism and ways to reasons for the failure of terrorism groups.
- Chapter 11 expands on the influence that prisons have on terrorist organizations and their recruitment efforts. In addition, the security measures that are considered to curtail terrorist radicalization in prison and rehabilitation and reintegration methods are discussed.
Video: Countering Violent Extremism: Community Policing Strategies (cc) (4:31)
This video explains various techniques available to law enforcement and security professionals used to combat violent extremism.
Video: Lone Wolf Terrorism in America (cc) (7:32)
This video illustrates the lone wolf ideology and how the use of public topics enhances and supports the lone wolf agenda.
Article: How to Deter Terrorism (Optional)
This article describes various methods to deter terrorism and fundamental ideology.
To acess textbook
Peer post 1
We have made it to the final discussion! There are around 3.484 billion social media users worldwide so it is no surprise that terrorist groups choose to use them as a way to disseminate media related to their ideologies and activities (Chaffey, 2019). Terrorists freely spread propaganda online through the use of videos, websites, online magazines and publications. Terrorist thrive online and the internet enables them to access as well as share endless knowledge including information on weapons, targets, and even potential vulnerabilities. The internet is a meeting place for individuals near and far to discuss and share extremist ideologies (Maras, 2013). A member of an extremist group can easily communicate with and reach a large audience of individuals on the other side of the world all with a click of a mouse. This poses a huge challenge to counterterrorism professionals.
If an act of terrorism is not seen or acknowledged by anyone then it doesnâ€™t serve its intended purpose. It would be more difficult for the current terrorist organizations to continue to recruit and push their ideologies to the extent that they are currently if the internet were to be cut off. It is difficult to change the feelings or beliefs of others so in order to counter the spread of this terrorist media dissemination one method that can be used is to remove the ability for these terrorist recruiters and members to even use the social media platform by blocking known accounts as well as posts that include certain hashtags as well as pictures and videos that are flagged for violence. The U.S. Constitution provides the right to freedom of speech which makes it difficult for the government to limit or prohibit certain ideas and ideologies from being presented and shared. Social media platforms are privately owned companies so they donâ€™t necessarily have to provide the same levels of free speech. These companies can remove jihadist and extremist content without violating constitutional laws (Bipartisan Policy Center, 2018).
Counterterrorism professionals can use social media to their advantage much in the same way that terrorists use it. Undercover accounts can be used to gain access to the same audiences that terrorists have attracted and narratives that counter those extremist ideologies can be shared instead. Social media can also be used as an intelligence gathering tool that can aid in counter operations that are aimed at discrediting the terrorist organizations that are actively present on the many different platforms (Bertram, 2016).
Bertram, E. (2016). Terrorism, the Internet and the Social Media Advantage: Exploring how terrorist organizations exploit aspects of the internet, social media and how these same platforms could be used to counter-violent extremism. Journal For Deradicalization (7). Retrieved fromhttp://journals.sfu.ca/jd/index.php/jd/article/view/63/58
Bipartisan Policy Center. (2018, March). Digital Counterterrorism: Fighting Jihadists Online. Retrieved from https://bipartisanpolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/BPC-National-Security-Digital-Counterterrorism.pdf
Chaffey, D. (2019, February 12). Global social media research summary 2019. Retrieved fromhttps://www.smartinsights.com/social-media-marketing/social-media-strategy/new-global-social-media-research/
Maras, A.P. M. (2013). Counterterrorism. [MBS Direct]. Retrieved from https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781449699338/
Peer post 2
Good Afternoon Class,
Social media has played a large role in recruiting members to join terrorist organizations such as the most prominent group ISIS. These videos and posts intend to spread the ideology of the group, demoralize their targets, change public opinion, and legitimate their acts to get readers and viewers to join their cause (Maras, 2013). Social media has enabled terrorists to communicate their radicalizing messages and violence to an audience that is now in local communities, which they have never been able to before the social media platforms were invented (Kean, 2018).
One example of countering these messages by terrorists is removing extremist content from their platforms. After the terrorist attacks in 2015 and 2016 in Europe, Facebook, Twitter, and Google decided to up their effort to remove extremist content from their platforms (Kean, 2018). Since these are private companies, they can sidestep the first amendment as they are not subject to constitutional free-speech guarantees. The courts were not allowed to enforce a ban on social media posts that violated individuals first amendment rights. However, as more attacks occurred, pressure from the U.S. and Europe made the social media companies to comply with a â€œCode of Conductâ€ for combating illegal online hate speech (Kean 2018). Under the code of conduct, the companies are committed to working toward the goal of â€œReviewing the majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech in less than 24 hours and removing or disabling access to such contentâ€ (Kean, 2018). The companies even created the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism to share technical solutions for removing such content and work more with counter-terrorism experts (Kean, 2018). Law Enforcement agencies are able to work with these companies to counteract the damage done by terrorists on social media sites.
Another example that law enforcement agencies do to counter terrorism is to re-write the script of the attacks taken place. To change the opinions of the public, the government needs to show the damage done by the attacks, whether it be an industry such as tourism that feels the effects, or a child that dies and focusing the story on the terrorist who targeted the child (Maras, 2013). Destroying the message and credibility of the terrorist group can help persuade people in question that have an interest in these organizations.
Kean, T. (March 2018). Digital Counterterrorism: Fighting Jihadists Online. Retrieved fromhttps://bipartisanpolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/BPC-National-Security-Digital-Counterterrorism.pdf
Maras, M. (2013). Counterterrorism. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.