TAP for PAD 747

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Faye Ann Peters – PAD 747 The use of social networking sites by terror organizations:

Faye Ann Peters – PAD 747 The use of social networking sites by terror organizations

Introduction :

Introduction Social networking sites are considered an important tool in networking, meeting, share videos and reconnecting with old friends. It has become a tool that has become intertwined within our lives in that the world can be aware of everything we do most of time and in some cases all of the time Using the internet as a tool to transmit messages, terrorist organizations, now, turn to social networking sites such as Facebook because of the relatively ease in sharing information. Social networking sites have allowed them to recruit, solicit funding and spread propaganda with relative ease. Terror networks have weakened because of increase military presence in centralized terror regions such as Afghanistan and Pakistan. Because of this, they have managed to maintain stronger ties through social networking sites. To address this new terror threat, government here and abroad need to evaluate current policies and implement new ones.

Historical overview of terror organizations:

Historical overview of terror organizations Al Qaeda was founded in 1988 by the late Osama Bin Laden (Conway & McInerney , 2009, p. 36). This terror organization poses an immediate threat to the U.S and Europe. Hezbollah was founded in 1982 by a group of Lebanese fundamentalists. They have strong resentment for western nations and Israel and are based primarily in Lebanon (Conway & McInerney , 2009, p. 36). Hamas was formed in 1987 by Palestinian spiritual leader Sheik Almed Yassim . This group is based in Palestine and is very instrumental in carrying out suicide bombing attacks on Israel (Conway & McTerney , 2009, p. 36).

Historical overview of social networking sites:

Historical overview of social networking sites Before the 1990s, the internet was not widely used by the public. When the internet became public to the larger cross section of society, it was seen as a useful tool for commercial purposes . The first online social networking site, SixDegrees.com emerged in 1997 and allowed users to set up profiles, search for friends, send messages and create friend lists (Boyd and Ellison, 2007, p. 45). In 2002 and 2003, Friendster and MySpace blossomed respectively (Boyd and Ellison, 2007, p. 45). YouTube launched in February 2005, as an online site, facilitated sharing of videos. YouTube has claimed to be the world’s largest online video community ( Datar and Mislan 2010). In 2006, Facebook and Twitter, the most commonly used social websites, were launched to the public.

The statistics:

The statistics Statistics show that in the United States alone, Facebook on average has 150 million users, Twitter 87.7 million and YouTube 163 million users ( Quantcast , 2012 ). 49 percent of video viewers on the popular video sharing site are from the Unites States alone . In the 18 – 29 year old demographics, Conway and McInerney (2010) found that in January 2010, almost 80 million users had viewed more than 3.5 billion YouTube videos . In light of these statistics, terror organizations see this platform as an easy target to solicit funding, recruit through the decimation of propaganda.

Fig. 3 – Statistics of social networking sites:

Fig. 3 – Statistics of social networking sites

How social networking sites work? :

How social networking sites work? Creating a profile is the first step to join a social networking site. Creating a profile, other users are able to search and connect with new online profiles, allowing users to share information, news, and posting video blog responses.

Chart:

Chart chart shows fields in creating a profile on social networking sites, Facebook, twitter and YouTube

Profile fields for social networking sites:

Profile fields for social networking sites Facebook Twitter YouTube Name/Alias Name/Alias Name/Alias Photograph Photograph Sex - - Birthday - - Hometown Location - Relationship status - - Friends List Followers/Following/Lists My videos Political Views - - Religious Views - - Activities - - Interests - Subscriptions Email address Email address Email address Educational history - - Employment history - - Group affiliations

Types of recruitment grounds:

Types of recruitment grounds Places of congregation Types of individuals targeted by terror organizations Recruitment targets for terror organizations Mosques, Internet cafes, book shops Young men 18 – 35 Looks for persons outside of terror network Mosques, internet cafes Radical and non – radical Muslims Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

YouTube videos chart:

YouTube videos chart Rank Description Rate Number of views Number of comments 1 Footage of suicide bombing 4 196,226 814 2 Martyr hailing 4.5 173,810 511 3 Funeral of martyr 4.5 86,917 648 4 Footage of suicide bombing 5 203,896 747 5 Call to martyrdom 4 188,822 536

Recruitment, soliciting funding and spreading propaganda: Its importance :

Recruitment, soliciting funding and spreading propaganda: Its importance Terror groups target a specific groups and types of individuals. These persons can be Muslims and non-Muslims; however youths who are searching for a purpose or feel dissatisfied are targets for terror groups Weimann (2010) offers a strategy as to how terror organizations infiltrate users on sites like Facebook and Twitter. He compares the terror groups’ strategy to that of online marketing agencies whereby they view users’ information to determine what kind of product information they can post to a user’s page. Similarly, terror groups view users’ information to decide who to target for recruitment, to spread propaganda and solicit funding. If a terror organization recruits a user from a social networking site, they can either be a donor or a member of the organization.

Pros of social networking sites:

Pros of social networking sites Users share information, upload videos, and post blogs; The cost associated with accessing social network is minimal; Social networking sites can be used as an educational tool; Social networking sites allow information to be exchanged among users at much greater speed than most other modes of communication. Social networking sites can be used as an educational tool

Cons for social networking sites:

Cons for social networking sites Terrorist organizations are capable of organizing and carrying out plots of mass destruction undetected from any part of the world through access of social networking sites. Privacy concern is a major issue. Government authorities may abuse their power and censor information.

Policies in Europe vs. policies in the United States:

Policies in Europe vs. policies in the United States The Anti-Money Laundering Law was implemented by the U.S in February 2002 to combat terrorists’ financing. The law regulates how transactions should occur and offer guidelines in ensuring that money remitting service providers follow . The Obama administration has created a “cyber-czar” to contend with the threat of terror organizations use of social networking sites (Jacobson, 2010, p. 359). Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act whereby law enforcement can wiretap and place citizens and residents under electronic surveillance ( Arwen & Mullikin , 2010, p. 33).

Recommendations:

Recommendations Money remitting service providers who conduct transactions with the United States should follow same policies as providers in the U.S . Engage internet service providers to monitor illicit transactions on social networking sites. This can be done by tracking internet protocol (IP) addresses of users under suspicion of interacting with terror organizations . The U.S. Government and its allies can create videos to refute propaganda messages spread by terror organizations. These can be similar to public service announcements that can be uploaded on Facebook , YouTube and twitter.

Best Option:

Best Option Alternative three may be most effective since it will reach a large cross section of online users. The videos uploaded to social networking sites will act as a counterterrorism tool.

Conclusion:

Conclusion

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