give a thoughtful responses in about 150 words on each one.
Question of the discussion (you will not answer the discussion question but provide repossess to the students posts below): Is the global spread of the social media a good thing in this era of political lies, false news, and on-line radicalization of the alienated? Be specific in your reasoning/
1-In the US social media is definitely viewed as a privilege. It has major consequences if not used correctly, such as schools and employers can check ones account and deny you opportunities based off of things on your account. Many times there are Americans that cannot afford a cellular device to download an app and converse with their followers or friends. And that can be a good thing and a bad thing. Particularly if you dont have a twitter account, where millions of people around the world follow others to keep up with their favorite celebrity, get the latest gossip, and most importantly become more aware of current events. It is a great way to interact directly with politicians and Donald Trump. For example everything he wants you to know and believe he tweets about it on his personal account. Trump rants as much as the political activist does when it comes to social injustice. Black Lives Matter creates great conversations and controversies for everyone to partake in through tweets. Depending on who you are you could view both of these examples as bad, because you dont like Trump and you view Black Lives matter as terrorist group, which it is not, but it as been referred to as one.
However in this day in age we are definitely not going to get the truth from Trump about anything or from any of his supporters that spread alternative facts about things happening in Washington. They send tweets that make false news and cyber bullying a big issue. So it is safe to say that doing your own research or watching recognized news channels that give accurate facts is the best way to stay up to date. Social media is good for gossip and celebrity news but for politics.
2-Personally, I have a very negative outlook on social media and I strive to remove myself or distance myself from it as much as possible. Having said that though, I dont think you can categorize social media as either inherently good or bad. While terrorists utilize it as a platform to spread their ideologies and recruit members, its used in essentially the same way by church groups, politicians, advocacy groups, and corporate news networks. The benefits, economic and educational, that social media provides outweigh any negative results.
Arguing that social media should be removed, limited, or restrained is a moot point as well. If one were to remove or limit social media, would it result in a more civil, interpersonal, and peaceful society? Would it inhibit terrorists or hate groups from spreading their messages and recruiting members? Likely not. Social media is simply a mechanism for those beliefs which already exist. Eliminating the mechanism does not eliminate the ideology. Furthermore, if one is to presume that those who are marginalized are more likely to become recruited by a radicalized group, how is removing social media from the equation effective, if in doing so, it would only serve to further marginalize the already alienated?
When the Paris bombings occurred, the news spread around the world within moments. Social media sites established tools for people to check-in so that others would know they were safe and to assist in determining those who were potentially deceased, missing, or wounded. In these types of situations, social media provides information that other resources cannot seem to produce as quickly. Imagine if social media had been as prevalent on 9/11 as it is now. If it had been, perhaps people would have evacuated the second building and lives could have been spared.
3-Social media has undeniably made it easier for terrorist organizations to recruit and radicalize individuals in a quick, low-cost and effective manner. Some may even argue that the frequency of “lone wolf” terrorism that plagues the United States is a true testament to the power of social media as a tool for spreading terrorist ideology. Further, the dissemination of “fake news” can provide terrorists with ample resources for the production of propaganda.
However, I believe that social media can also be an effective tool used to fight terrorism. For this discussion, I will attempt to play devil’s advocate by making the argument (as I would like to believe) that social media contributes more as an intelligence tool and a global uniting force in the fight against terrorism than it does as a weapon for terrorists to employ. Although terrorists use platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to recruit and radicalize individuals across the globe, these platforms can also be manipulated by state security and intelligence agencies to prevent terrorist attacks from unfolding. Often in hindsight after a terrorist attack, we learn that the perpetrators social media pages hinted at their radicalization and intent for violence. Governments may not be able to stop the radicalization process, but using the information that individuals post on social media, they may be able to stop attacks before they occur. For example, The Economist featured an article last year that detailed how Israeli security services had developed algorithms to monitor social media posts and match them against typical profiles of potential attackers (The Economist, 2016).
In addition, I would like to believe that social media provides a sense of global community that stands united in opposition to the heinous violence that terrorists cause. When we choose to filter our profile pictures with the flag of a country that has just experienced an attack to show solidarity, we build a unique global community that stands united rather than divided across borders. Terrorists use strategies and weapons that are designed to capture the greatest audience possible, social media is certainly catering to that objective, however not always in the way that terrorist organizations would hope. By receiving instantaneous information about terrorist attacks that have occurred in other countries, populations around the world react with sympathy, outrage, and exert pressure for governments to work together in a multilateral fight against terrorism. Social media allows for terrorists to evoke a widespread reaction, however more often that not, it is a reaction that fosters cooperation and ignites the fight against terrorism, rather than promoting their cause.
I believe that social media can be a tool used for good in the fight against terrorism. However, I think that as we explore the online society that we are creating through these media platforms, it will become more pertinent for parents, teachers, journalists, and scholars to inform the public about the dangers of fake news and how to distinguish credible sources from shady sources. Social media is still a relatively new technological development, and as with any new development, there will be learning curves. One of these curves happens to be the dissemination of fake news and the accessibility of international contact, greatly lessening the cost of recruitment for terrorist organizations. We must not, however, let these downfalls of social media keep us from accessing all of its virtues, such as connecting with people across the globe in a positive way, and creating a global community that has the capabilities of standing together to tackle the greatest issues of our generation, such as the new era of terrorism.