An international conference on Terrorism and Social Media (TASM) was hosted at the University of Swansea, in Wales, UK. The 2-day conference from 25th – 26th of June was exploring how terrorists are taking advantage of social media and using it to spread propaganda in an attempt to radicalise people.
In recent years, the use of social media has grown enormously. A total of 22 social networking websites now have over 100 million monthly visitors. The largest of these, Facebook, has 2.2 billion monthly active users. Every day five billion videos are watched on YouTube, 500 million tweets are posted on Twitter, and 80 million photos are shared via Instagram. Social media has become a ubiquitous feature of contemporary life.
Terrorists are no different. They use social media for a variety of purposes, just like the rest of us.
Speaking to 7DNews, Professor Stuart Macdonald, Director of CYTREC (Cyber Threats Research Centre) said the conference would bring together a range of researchers, policy-makers and practitioners, from a number of different countries and disciplinary backgrounds to engage in a multi-stakeholder conversation.
Insights from analysts and researchers like Jacob Zenn, Bulama Bukarti and other industry leaders who also spoke to 7DNews, revealed how extremist groups like Isis, Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram are prevalent on social media and how their activity has evolved in recent years.