SOCIAL MEDIA AND TERRORISM A DANGEROUS MECHANISM
AASHI KAMESHWAR,  Research co-ordinator

SOCIAL MEDIA AND TERRORISM A DANGEROUS MECHANISM

Social media and terrorism has come out as a life threating issue, with the fast and rapidly changing world, terrorist organisations have also adopted high technologies and started using social media as a medium to attract followers, interact with them and whether to take responsibilit for their actions or to follow their plan, they have started taking the digital way. The world saw the starting of terrorism and the link to digital world during the end 20th century. To understand the concept of social media and terrorism we need to understand first the term “Social media” and “Terrorism” seprately. Terrorism is defined in many ways, and with so many definitions, terrorism in India is defined as : Any intentional act of violence that causes death, injury, property damage, induces fear and is targeted again any group of people identified by their political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature. Whereas social media is a space of cyber based applications which allows the creation of UGC (User-generated-content) on websites and apps such as facebook, twitter and so on, with blog being the starting of such content. Social media has become an effective way for terrorist organisations to recruit, interact and manage the whole plan of action through its help. Terrorist organisations such as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or Al-Qaeda and many others have started publishing their plans on social media to create havoc among the communities and to induce fear among people. With the increased usage of social media by terror organisations it has become a matter of life threatening issue, you never know when anyone of your family, friends or known gets trapped into such activities and is radicalised. Social media has millions and billions of users due to its user friendly activities and with such a large population the terrorist must find it easy to communicate with anyone, know their ideology and keep in touch whenever and wherever. With easy options of information sharing and poor privacy, terrorists find it convenient and fast enough to use social media. Various forums and social media platforms with their groups are consistently increasing with time. Extremists and terror organisations opt many ways to trap people where one of the ways is to redirect users on their pages or websites and either taking information out of their visit or by engaging them with their ideology. Government, cyber crime departments, Intelligence agencies all have to monitor the social media websites and analyse activities making the application owners or companies as Google, Facebook and so on under pressure to increase up their security and to cooperate with the government as well. In 2011, Al-Qaeda launched it “Jihadist Cloud” and its members engouraged the development of media muhajidin since then. Everyday a huge amount of propogandas is posted online to recruit, and to interact and absorb they interact on more personal and closed pages/forums created by them. Between all this the main motive of terrorist organisations and extremist groups are to strengthen their propaganda and maintain unity among them. Since we are living in a digital age, social media plays a vital role in everyone’s life and as much as it plays a vital role it gives an unrealistic responsibility on the shoulders of companies, government for the protection of their citizens. Terrorism is not something new and so the concept of social media and terrorism, it shows the adaptability of terrorist organisation with the changing time therefore the challenges are not decreased but have increased to a larger extent. The usage of social media by terror organisations to train, recruit, communicate or to simply engage and spread propaganda is serving these organisations in their favour, considering the fact that people from around the world interact using social media. Countries like Syria, Sudan, Pakistan, Afghanistan and so on have shown homegrown terror organisations which have created instability among the nations and hence, it shows a deeper level of radicalisation which creates destruction. The world cannot run away or ignore the fact that cyber terrorism is present over the social media however, the steps that can be taken to secure the citizens as well as the information which is over the network. As the world is moving towards more and advanced digitalisation it is essential for the government to stay alert and so the citizens, people have to be more aware of the kind of information they put up on the internet in order to avoid getting trapped into their provoking ideology and radicalisation process. Terrorism has clearly showed the world that what happens due to terror attacks are much enhancely based to induce fear among people in a view to get their demands or any aspect fullfill. Hence, cyber terrorism will keep on happening until it is totally eradicated from the root though it is a long as well as short term aim, with increased security and keeping a check on the cyber world, cyber terrorist can be locked up before they even take any action.

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