Title: 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
Author: Luke Bertram
Date of Publication: 2016
Journal / Publisher: Journal for Deradicalization
Purpose of the study
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.
Design of the study
How have terrorist organizations benefited from social media advances?
The deeply engrained nature of social media in modern life has provided ease of access to information and speed of use within almost every aspect of a person’s life. These same benefits 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.
Social media has presented terrorist organizations with many advantages in coordinating operations, reaching potential Jihadis and engaging with their intended audiences. However, these same advantages can be utilized by counter-terrorism and counter-violent extremism actors to achieve gains against these organizations.
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.
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.
By viewing the social media presence as a tool for collecting intelligence, conducting digital counter-operations and also overtly discrediting terrorist organizations in their own digital space, counter-violent extremism strategists and policy makers may make gains against terrorist organizations.