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article imageRecruiting goes online - Terrorists making 'friends' on Facebook

By Abigail Prendergast     Jan 9, 2012 in Internet
Several terrorist organizations such as Hamas have turned to digital media as a means if recruiting fanatical followers. This alarming trend is also a way for terrorists to gain intelligence of enemy soldiers.
Social networking websites such as Facebook have assisted many groups in recruiting members for their chosen cause. The sky is the limit as to what a group can advocate, and usually mean no harm in the process of attempting to reach their desired goal. That is, unless that group is an online terrorist organization.
According to University of Haifa, international terrorist assemblies are seeking out new members to groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas by means of social networking websites - in particular, Facebook.
The online incarnations of these and many other cells are turning their efforts to making "friends" and convincing them to join their armed groups that have been marked as terrorist organizations by countries in the Western Hemisphere, says UPI.com.
The Israeli professor who gathered this information said that these terrorist groups are luring in "friends" on the social networking giant, as well as other sites such as Twitter, to become a part of their fanatical set of followers.
"Today, about 90 percent of organized terrorism on the Internet is being carried out through social media," said Gabriel Weinmann, the aforementioned Haifa University professor who has been researching terrorist groups and their recruiting tactics via internet for the past decade. "By using these tools, the organizations are able to be active in recruiting new friends without geographical limitations. Social media is enabling the terror organizations to take initiatives by making 'friend' requests, uploading video clips, and the like, and they no longer have to make do with the passive tools available on regular websites."
What is more is that these organizations are also utilizing Facebook, Twitter and other media sites in order to gain intelligence on their Western enemies. In fact, Israel's military has already been targeted by Hezbollah who accumulated information on the status updates of soldiers. American, Canadian and British soldiers have been ordered to take down any personal information from their profiles in case groups such as Al-Qaida are also on board with this alarming trend.
"The most advanced of Western communication technology is, paradoxically, what the terror organizations are now using to fight the West," said Weinmann.
More about facebook groups, Terrorism, Hamas, Hezbollah
 
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