Title

FEAR.COM: Terrorism and its Use of the Internet and Social Media

Graduation Date

12-2014

Document Type

Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Humanities and Cultural Studies

Department or Program Chair

Chase Clow

First Reader

Martin Anderson

Abstract

Since the late 1990’s, the Internet has become a technology that is used daily in our lives, and it reaches a global audience. Development of sophisticated communication technologies has allowed the Internet to expand into a worldwide network accessible to almost anyone with access to a computer, tablet, or smart phone. The Internet allows individuals to communicate with relative anonymity, quickly and effectively across borders, to an almost boundless audience. These technological developments have also become tools of international terrorist organizations as well. Modern terrorist groups utilize the Internet in order to spread their doctrine and to recruit individuals to their cause through sophisticated tactics and techniques. Terror groups use the Internet and social media as it can reach a global audience almost instantaneously. Terrorist organizations are no longer hindered by geographical boundaries as modern technology and globalization has given them the ability to be boundless in their quest to spread their ideologies and messages across the information superhighway.

This paper will provide a specific focus on the most common and prolific technologies that are the easiest to access for individuals and groups across the globe. Some of the technologies in use by terror groups are websites, chat rooms, instant messaging, blogs, video-sharing websites, online communities, and social media networks. By possessing a deeper understanding how terrorist groups use the Internet and social media technologies, the regular individual, governments, and societies at large can resist on-line extremism by promoting pluralism and cross-culturalism, in order to counter the violent ideology and hateful rhetoric of organizations that aim to destroy societal norms.

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