Radicalization and how social media plays a role

Terrorism has taken advantage of the modern world’s ability to reach a larger audience than ever before. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and even Youtube are being used by extremist groups to directly recruit members, gain intelligence and spread hate speeches. ISIS has proved to be adept in using social media in a propaganda war. Governments are attempting to combat the rising threat by using the same platforms to track down possible leads. Terrorists are known to combine a number of platforms, each being used in their own specific way for their capabilities and intent of the person making the threat. 

A prime example of this are the groups Daesh and ISIL who will manipulate online space, influencing supporters to carry out violent acts that have been well thought out and executed. They have been known to use social media, websites, file sharing and encryption software to plan their attacks with limited attention from government agencies.

image source: pexels.com

After the September 11th attacks, it became increasingly hard for organizations to meet in person, so they looked to the internet as it provided an easy yet effective solution to this problem. The advantages of social media extend far beyond providing a simple and discrete way of communicating. With the rise of multiple platforms, it allows the ability to quickly reach a broad spectrum of audiences and gain followers at little to no cost. This quick spread of propaganda is a serious cause for concern because it can only take one person to see their message to carry out an attack anywhere in the world, causing carnage and fear. These people are known as “Lone Wolves”. 

John Maguire was born in Ontario and after his parents were divorced he moved in with his grandparents to finish high school; eventually changing his name to Abu Anwar al-Canadi and Yahya Maguire on his social media accounts. He eventually left for Syria in 2013 after purchasing a one way ticket to join ISIS. He suggested to fellow Canadians through his twitter and Facebook that any potential lone wolf terrorists should reach out to him through his social media.

image source: pexels.com

Young adults are by far the ideal audience for terrorist organizations because of how active they are on various social media platforms; allowing easier access to promote their propaganda rapidly around the world with just a click. A survey conducted in 2018, indicated that 85% of teens use YouTube, nearly 70% use Instagram and Snapchat, and 51% use Facebook, which makes it the optimal platform to reach young people due their extensive use. 

If you saw suspicious posts, would you know what to do? Would you report it?

Social Media plays a role with Radicals. http://bit.ly/37UbE6m

radicals and social media #radicaltweet #darksideofsm http://bit.ly/37UbE6m

4 thoughts on “Radicalization and how social media plays a role

  1. Your blog subject applies 100% on my origin side of the world, the middle east. I can go on and on about the power of social media in radicalism in the Mea. Brainwashing main source is happening there to the level that huge companies funded by government working day and night to fight it. Great subject thank you.

  2. Thanks for the post Sarah.

    It’s a pretty scary thing to imagine, but it’s so common today. All terrorist organizations attempt to recruit on social media. It’s free and has such a wide reach. I can see young males being a particular target, even though I’m sure there are cases of female recruitment. It’s a challenging objective to combat, which requires full-time surveillance by the government. I would definitely report and suspicious activity to the appropriate authorities.

  3. This is a good reminder that social media isn’t all fun and marketing, there are the negatives and a dark side to be aware of. I think we have a responsibility to report suspicious posts that we might encounter.

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