If one cannot scream fire in a crowded theatre, then why can terrorists use social media to spread propaganda, raise funds and harm people?
At the time of this writing, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva (or someone who claims to be her) is on Twitter @tsarnaeva raising money (supposedly) for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s defense fund. There’s a photo which seems to be the mother holding up routing numbers for people to send money to a Russian bank account.
Simultaneously, the Twitter-verse is abuzz at this early Sunday morning hour that American-born terror leader Omar Shafik Hammami was killed last night by rival jihadis. That after he posted a picture of himself shot in the neck. While the American State Department has a $5 Million reward for his capture, just last month Wired Magazine published an extensive interview with him where he asserted he will believes in “attacking U.S. interests everywhere. No [second] thoughts and no turning back.”
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a North African affiliate of Al Qaeda indeed is actively using Twitter to spread their propaganda. They held an on-line press conference earlier this month and explained the purpose of what they do. “We are an inalienable part of this world, we live our time and benefit from every mean that serves our goals and clarifies the equity of course cause to the international public opinion who is unaware of a lot of facts.” And “This is our only mean to communicate with the international public opinion, since we are terrorists according to the dictionary of America and its agents in the region and the neutral and free journalists who search for the truth can only communicate with us through it, as for the direct contact it is a crime punishable under the laws of America, France, and governments of the regions, and leads the pro journalists directly to Guantanamo or Serkadji.”
Also earlier this month, an Islamic cleric made a video on YouTube which provided a fatwa (blessing) for rebels in Syria to rape non-Sunni Syrian woman. Salafi Sheikh Yasir al-Ajlawni said “It’s a “legitimate fatwa” for Muslims waging war against Mr. Assad and trying to put in place a Sharia government to “capture and have sex with” Alawites and other non-Sunni, non-Muslim women.”
For people worldwide, from celebrities to corporations, governments, PR firms like 5WPR – and indeed even terrorists, social media has changed communications. The question remains will social media continue to allow terrorists to use their outlets to spread terror?