Social Media and the War on Terror

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

 

3 thoughts on “Social Media and the War on Terror

  1. I think that by using social media to instigate problems with groups that the country is already in a disagreement with is only going to create more problems between the two parties. To me, to be purposely trying to stir things up this way does seem petty and could turn dangerous. I think the government should stick to monitoring comments from these groups on social media just to keep an eye out for any threats, instead of trying to provoke them into happening.

  2. I agree, I don’t think this is a route that they should take because like you said it is something that is hard to control. They should find another approach that the majority can agree on because no matter what they decide there is going to be someone against it. Why would the government even want to use social media? Yes it reaches out to a lot of people but it also causes more issues as well.

  3. How do they scout these “terrorist groups” on Facebook? I don’t necessarily think this is the best approach to deal with such matters. Social Media is dangerous stomping ground for sensitive matters to really get out of control especially when it seems that they’re mo is to throw gas on a fire.

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