POSTED BY Samantha Keefe
In today’s world, almost everyone with access to a computer has a form of social media. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Reddit. Even if people do not have these types of accounts, they are familiar with what they are, and what can be done on them. These websites are generally used to keep in contact with family and friends, to share pictures and thoughts, or even to find employment. What most do not expect from social media sites is that they have become a breeding ground for terrorists to recruit new members.
In recent times, social media is a way that those, whom are strangers, and thousands of miles apart, are able to connect. Terrorist group ISIS has taken advantage of sites like Facebook and Twitter to spew their hate and gain sympathizers. Using multiple accounts, ISIS has been able to create Facebook pages for the purpose of recruiting new members. NPR reports, citing FBI data, that over twenty Americans have been recruited by ISIS through the use of social media. This has caused quite a controversy for sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Many argue that these websites should act prudently by immediately shutting down these pages, and reporting any suspected terrorist activity that occurs on their websites to the government. Most social media sites at this time do not take an active role to find pages used by suspected terrorists or sympathizers, but instead leaves the responsibility to other users, who can report a page for suspicious activity. At this time, these websites have not been actively shutting down pages that are used by suspected terrorists, or reporting these pages to the government.
On the other side of the argument are those who believe that these terror groups have every right to voice their beliefs, even if those beliefs are disgusting and promote violence and murder. These individuals are misguided in believing that these terrorist groups have a right of freedom of speech to state their views. Facebook and these other social media sites are private companies, and the First Amendment does not apply to them, they can ban anything they choose without an explanation.
Social media sites, especially Facebook and Twitter, need to take a stand and report any suspected members or pages that promote ISIS or any other terrorist group. Although the government most likely monitors these websites for many types of suspicious behaviors, this is not enough. This is not an issue of whether ISIS should be able to express their hate of the western world, but an issue of terrorists recruiting those who are severely misguided and join ISIS for an escape. Innocent lives are lost every day due to these despicable human beings, and Facebook and Twitter should do all that they possibly can to prevent their sites from furthering the brutal butchering committed by ISIS. The news media should be reporting on this story, and the public should be enraged.