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

The deeply engrained nature of social media in modern life have provided ease of access to information and speed of use within almost every aspect of a person’s life. These same benefit are also available to terrorists and their organizations. The same technology that allows for a globalized world to interact without regard for distance or physical location is also utilized, exploited and adapted to by terrorist organizations to conduct operations, reach candidates and ensure organizational longevity.

This article takes the position of observer of these advancements with the end goal of informing counter-violent extremism strategists of the advances that terrorist groups have already made in digital technology; and where the priority of intervention strategies should be aimed. Further, this is intended to guide policy makers to embrace and utilize digital technologies as a mechanism to carry counter-radicalization and counter-violent extremism interventions through the same digital potential and reach the same audiences as terrorist organizations. What appears strongly apparent is that social media will not abate from its intrinsic position graphed into daily life. This means that counter-terrorism, counter-radicalization and counter-violent extremism strategies must take up the same technology in order to effectively discredit and nullify extremist groups – a digital problem needs a digital solution.

Tags: Counterterrorism, Fundraising, Recruitment, Social Media