Monday, October 13, 2014

Social media is of more value in uncovering terror and crime than in facilitating it (Washington Post op-ed)

This might be a good occasion to point out an op-ed in the Washington Post Sunday by Daniel Byman and Jeremy Shapiro on the intelligence value of social media, link here
Some detractors have pointed out that ISIS us using social media to recruit “impressionable” and frankly gullible young men into overseas fighting that doesn’t make sense to westerners.  In fact, the logic inside this collectivist thinking (that it is “selfish” not to go fight for a brother [Sunni] Muslim who is attacked, or that future generations have to be protected from western “filth”) seems remarkable in how it unwinds and falls apart when you look at it.  Usually, we’re glad when young men eschew alcohol.  But the ideology that allows slavery and forced marriages?  How in the world can all of this compute, add up, and make any sense?  That’s not to say that I don’t have problems in getting my own ideas to “add up”. 
The writers of the piece point out that the intelligence value of social media probably outweighs the “recruiting”.  And the men who fall for this ideology don’t seem to realize that others are watching or listening, and that many more people may be repulsed by this than are won over.    

CNN has a piece on the issue by Peter Bergen and David Sterman, link here

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