A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

Legislation Specifically Targeting the Use of the Internet to Recruit Terrorists


The development of the internet has radically transformed modern life, shifting communications and personal finance from physical encounters and telephony to computer-mediated communications (CMC) platforms such as websites and social media [4, 46, 52]. Individuals now depend on sites like Facebook, email, and texting applications for personal communications with close friends and the world at large [17, 35].

The benefits of CMC platforms are manifold, enabling individuals to share their experiences and ideas on events from across the globe in real time. Users can provide an up-close view of their life and be informed of events occurring anywhere in the world as though they were there [17]. Individuals also exert direct control over the content of the messages they produce, meaning there may be no attempt to filter the content through a mainstream lens as happens in traditional media such as television or radio [8, 27, 41]. The connected nature of social media platforms also encourages individuals to find others who share their point of view, creating echo chambers that reinforce one’s world view. Finally, the unique features of different social media platforms enable users to craft messages that will entice others to view their posts, whether through images on Instagram and Snapchat, the use of hashtags on Twitter, or provocative video and text on Facebook.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Holt, Thomas J., Joshua Freilich, and Steven M. Chermak. 2019. "Legislation Specifically Targeting the Use of the Internet to Recruit Terrorists." In Online Terrorist Propaganda, Recruitment, and Radicalization, ed. John R. Vacca. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. https://www.crcpress.com/Online-Terrorist-Propaganda-Recruitment-and-Radicalization/Vacca/p/book/9781138048263

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