When reading comments and discussions online, it’s common to come across “trolls”. These are people who seem to be focused entirely on causing trouble with their comments. They may use humor or crude language to mock whatever the topic being discussed with. The goal for these trolls is to get real people to engage with them.
It appears that the US Government is taking a similar approach to dealing with terrorist groups who use social media to disseminate their ideals and feelings about the US. The State Department has started the Center for Strategi Counterterrorism (CSCC) specifically to engage with these groups on various websites. Some have criticized the CSCC’s approach as being too “troll-like”, as it appears that their comments to these groups are meant to incite anger as opposed to opening some kind of dialogue. The CSCC’s twitter account responded to a picture of a desecrated Buddha statue posted by an Al Qaeda account with the comment: “Destroying ancient culture out of hatred and backwardness are a feature of al Qaeda’s ideology”.
Engaging with terrorist organizations via social media seems to be a very…interesting move in the war on terror. Personally, that wouldn’t be a route that I would take, because social media is such an uncontrollable outlet. There are too many ways that the government can embarrass themselves, as shown with the comment above. A back-and-forth exchange between the CSCC and Al Qaeda (for example) could quickly degenerate into complete foolishness.
What are your thoughts about this? Is the government being progressive or petty by engaging social media as a tool in the war on terror?
Information from: Why the US Gov’t is ‘trolling’ the terrorists