How Facebook and Social Media Promote Terrorism
The nature of Islamic terrorism throughout the world has changed in recent years. Alongside the established and organized groups -- such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and even ISIS -- a new and different type terror has been created, one that is nourished ideologically, spiritually, and intellectually by these groups, yet shows no connection -- organizationally or operationally -- to them.
This terror is defined by what we refer to as "lone wolves." These are individuals whose nationalistic motives, religious incitement or psychological needs propel them to commit acts of terror without being a member of an organized group or cell. The one unifying aspect for all these lone wolves is social media.
Social media networks enable any individual to have his voice and his opinions heard so that his proclamations can resonate with audiences that are far-reaching. Unfortunately, the existing freedoms on social media have been manipulated by terrorist groups to create a threat that poses a clear and present danger to citizens around the world.
Terrorist groups around the world have recognized the potential of social media and these networks have become an essential component -- in fact, an unhindered course of action -- in allowing the global terrorist networks greatly to expand the operations of terror groups and their supporters worldwide, and affect billions of people around the world. These operations and activities include disseminating "open messages," the recruitment of new members and supporters, but most importantly to advertise and promote the essence of their terror movement and the glorified aftermath of attacks that they have perpetrated. In the process, the terrorist groups can reach a potential army of a million possible soldiers without any direct connection to them.