By JERRY HOFFMAN
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) is a terrorist group based in the Middle East. During their most recent uprising and acts of violence, they have been using social media as a weapon of war to find new recruits, and next victims.
“They’re using it successfully to spot, assess, identify and target folks outside of war zones,” said Michael Steinbach, FBI. “They’re using it in Europe and they’re using it in the United States. We’ve seen across the globe kids as young as 13 recruited by ISIS.”
By using social media as a way of recruitment and target seeking, ISIS has access to one of the largest databases available on the Internet. It allows terrorists to gain maximum information about the individuals they are interested in.
“What we’ve seen is individuals in Syria reaching directly into the United States, starting in public chats on different social media platforms and then moving to private chats, where they continue to recruit, inspire and then cause individuals either to travel overseas or even worse, to conduct an attack here in the United States,” Steinbach continued. “There certainly is intelligence indicating that foreign terrorist organizations are using social media not only to spot and assess, but select targets. Targeting the military, targeting law enforcement, targeting government officials.”
Not only has ISIS been using social media as a method of recruitment and targeting, but the terrorist group has also used it as a method to instill fear into their enemies by publicly posting mass killings of their hostages online.
Once these videos are posted online and media outlets such as CNN or NBC get a hold of the clip the video immediately goes viral, allowing people all over the world to see what ISIS is capable of, and the power and influence that social media has given them.