Counterterrorism on Social Media

day1 socialMedia

Posted on Nov 7

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Brian Fishman
lead policy manager, counterterrorism, Facebook


Brian Fishman is the author of The Master Plan: ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Jihadi Strategy for final Victory and previously served as the director of research at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.


Before the digital revolution, terrorist groups focused on on-site training while today the Internet serves as a medium to distribute content, training material and propaganda.

In 2004, broadband provided the ability to upload large files such as videos and share them online. However, the file sizes exceeded the capabilities and led to site crashes. This led strategies such as viral spreading of content: Upload content to various platforms, preplanned release of numerous URL’s which where then re-uploaded elsewhere on the net. This ensured that sites would not crash and content was spread with such speed, which presented a greater challenge of controlling, deleting and banning the spread of such information.

Today’s challenge is to find ways how to stop the behavior of primary and secondary distribution of such data. With automated techniques such as machine learning and automation, Facebook, Google, YouTube and Microsoft are merging forces against terrorism. Brian Fishman from Facebook emphasizes on the importance of information sharing between parties and using technological advancement to tackle safety risks. We might not be able to eliminate terrorism all together, but what we can do is to drive it back into the corners of the Internet.

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