The United States of America has the most sophisticated and
technological armed forces in the world, the integration of
Social Media has created another danger to our safety as a
nation. Missiles, bombs, Smart-weapons and bullets are
ineffective to keystrokes and Social Media protocols that are
The growing battlefield between the United States and the
Islamic State (ISIS). American’s are being recruited, threatened,
and stalked by extremists outside of our borders and maybe within
waiting to attack. American service men and women are being
identified by their Social Media content creating a potential
physical and digital battlefield.
Social Media platforms are dynamic tools that allow for
instantaneous connectivity using high speed data lines that
connect networks, the use of satellites, fiber optics serves as
the backbone to the Internet, homes and apartments are using
DSL – digital subscriber line technology, and other technical
pieces are digitally making the world smaller.
Because of the power of these transformative tools, world
events arrive quickly to our homes, offices, businesses,
educational institutions and even places of worship that have
Internet access and wireless digital devices.
The practice of spreading propaganda, misinformation, counter
intelligence and even recruitment has changed from the decades
of old leaflets dropped from airplanes and radio programs that
encourage defection to Social Media platforms that are interactive
and engaging. These efforts are not new, data has shown these
recruitment efforts have been dated back to 2013.
It is hard to say how effective Social Media is, there are over 100
Americans engaged in Syria and Iraq conflicts. In 2014 there were
five (5) Americans arrested on terrorist charges, those caught
were attempting to join ISIS or other groups. The broad spectrum
of places from Colorado, Texas, California and North Carolina
shows that Social Media has some success in recruiting.
The sophistication of these organizations and intelligence
of implementation of Social Media must be a reminder that terrorists
can spread their doctrine globally. That being made a fact parents
must examine the content their children are downloading:
magazines, videos, brochures, and podcasts, need to be
examined for potential dangerous content.
As an Educational Technology instructor at an HBCU, more foreign
students are attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
This is not to say HBCU’s are targeted, all higher educational institutions
need to be cautious about who is seeking to enroll in their schools
from foreign lands. Twitter serves as a flexible platform because
accounts can be quickly erected even after one is shutdown. Twitter
can be troublesome to identify users, they are able to conceal their
identities more effectively than on other social networking sites.
Languages is not a deterrent because Twitter is in Arabic and other
languages. Media outlets of Al-Hayat, Al-Medrar, Al-Battar and others
spread messages in a variety of languages (“Hashtag Terror 2014”).
“ISIS’s sophisticated use of social media – a blueprint that will likely be
copied and expanded upon by other terrorist groups as well – serves
as a stark reminder of the role social media plays for terrorists around
the world” (“Hashtag Terror 2014”). Media supporters are often active
in a variety of languages and on a variety of platforms, including Twitter,
Facebook, Instagram, and the question and answer services that
teens and young adults access like Ask.FM.
Resources have been known to connect people to questionable groups.
Smartphone users can sign up for an app for Android through Google
Play as a way of receiving information from ISIS. Obviously I’m not
going to share the name because I support American interests and
love my country.
The integration of HashTags is found to be effective in sharing information,
overwhelming and invasive at times, technology is being manipulated
in directions not thought of when the Internet became a visual element.
ISIS encourages tweets of “active hashtags,” or hashtags that are trending.
Tweeting ISIS messages with popular hashtags so that people searching
for those hashtags will inadvertently come across pro-ISIS posts.
Parents are the first deterrents to radical or violent groups, monitor your
child’s access. Talk to them about potential threats and share with them
information that could save lives. The threats are real: parents reinforce
your expectations for the safety of your families. The boldness of groups
like ISIS is that disseminated information has various other statements
attacking the U.S. via social media.
In conclusion one of the attempts is to clarify the honor and search for
“shahada” or martyrdom. This erroneously gives glory to death, altering
the sense of morality and humanity for young people desiring to join
ISIS looking for recognition and notoriety. This propaganda shows
graphic imagery and a willingness to take life based on religious or
political doctrine. The Islamic State and other groups have been around
before 2003, the U.S. State Department was aware of these groups
even under the Bush administration, no efforts were made to stop their
growth. Social Media is being used as a tool to expand the works of chaos,
death, and violence. Parents be aware of what is coming into your homes
through Social Media platforms your children or family members maybe using.