The most important social networks are being formed entirely online because the Internet offers anonymity, interactivity and a resilient infrastructure. No matter where people are in the world, they can be connected instantly to others who sympathize with their cause.
According to Kohlman, It’s like the New Yorker magazine cartoon showing a dog behind a computer telling another dog that, “On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog”.
The second terror attack in Paris this year raced through social media along with the shocking news that it left more than 125 people dead. And social media did what it always does, it reacted — sometimes in support, sometimes in fear, sometimes in hope, other times with pride.
Before the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria had even claimed responsibility for the shootings and explosions that killed more than 125 in Paris on Friday night, Muslims around the world took to social media to condemn the perpetrators and defend Islam as a faith of nonviolence.
‘What’s in a name?’ quipped William Shakespeare. A lot if you happen to be a Muslim. Even though Islam teaches that terrorism has no religion, people all over the world have been infected with Islamophobia following the recent #ParisAttacks.
Using the hashtags #MuslimsAreNotTerrorists #IAmAMuslim and #NotInMyName, Muslim Twitter users have united in grief with Parisians while expressing their abhorrence towards the violence carried out by terrorists in the name of Islam.
When a lone terrorist slaughtered 38 tourists at a Tunisian resort on June 26, the Islamic State turned to social media to claim credit and warn of more attacks on the world’s nonbelievers.
“It was a painful strike and a message stained with blood,” the Islamic State announced on Twitter. “Let them wait for the glad tidings of what will harm them in the coming days, Allah permitting.”
Three days before the assault, the Islamic State relied on Google’s YouTube, to promote a grisly propaganda video of three separate executions. Men accused of cooperating with U.S.-coordinated airstrikes in Iraq and Syria are seen being incinerated in a car, drowned in a cage that is lowered into a swimming pool and decapitated by explosive necklaces looped around their necks.
Extremists of all kinds are increasingly using social media to recruit, radicalize and raise funds, and Isis is one of the most adept practitioners of this approach. It has taken a direct approach especially when uploading videos of them attacking towns and firing weapons. Amateur videos and images are being uploaded daily by its foot-soldiers, which are then globally shared both by ordinary users and mainstream news organizations.
Al-Qaeda has an Internet presence spanning nearly two decades and use the internet to distribute material anonymously or ‘meet in dark spaces’.
Related searches such as Kenya Paris and the #prayforKenya hashtags are also trending in the wake of the controversy over the difference in news coverage as a means for social media users to give attention to other terrorist attacks around the world. The Kenya attack articles are being retweeted, causing some users to think the Kenya attack just occurred.
As to the question whether social media is ready and willing to actively stop terrorism, the answer appears to be a resounding NO.