Are Networking Companies Doing Enough To Stop DIY Terrorism?

WASHIINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) — 

The Halloween attack was yet another example of the “home made” terrorism that has been on the development in the West, by which actors, often motivated by overseas groups are able to use minimum resources to cause greatest harm.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) explained the timing of the attack had been “ironic,” given the testimony provided by experts suggesting that social network companies were not doing all possible to efficiently battle online terrorist recruitment and radicalization

“I think that it’s quite ironic that as we were having a hearing regarding how radical Islam is utilizing the world wide web to recruit within our own garden, within the timeframe of the hearing we had an attack by somebody who appears to fit your profile,” Graham told reporters at a Tuesday press conference.

While the media giants have claimed some success in creating algorithms along with tools to block and quickly remove content experts cast doubt on whether they are doing enough. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, terrorism analyst Michael S. Smith II, informed lawmakers the Facebook, Twitter and Google “are not doing all they possibly can to mitigate threats” that emanate from their platforms.

“I believe we could do an exponential amount” to fight online terrorist recruitment and radicalization efforts, Smith stated. “We have the capability. It is not being employed.”


According to police, the defendant in the Nyc truck attack, Sayfullo Saipov, has been born in Uzbekistan and arrived into America in 2010 under the so called Diversity Lottery Visa. It wasn’t until he arrived from the U.S. that he became “domestically radicalized,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

“The evidence shows,” Cuomo told CNN, “that after he came to the United States is if he started to become informed about ISIS and radical Muslim approaches.”

The current publicly available evidence does not suggest the defendant was a part of mobile or a larger organization, but has been motivated by the Islamic State’s ideology and tactics.

According to reports, Saipov actively used media to connect to individuals who were or are the topics of terror investigations. Saipov himself was the subject of an FBI analysis in 2015, but officials were not able to locate enough evidence to convict him.

As the defendant recovers from his injuries, investigators are piecing together Saipov’s online history. What they’ve found to date is a profile on those low-tech terror attacks, a sympathetic into and eventually influenced to act on ISIS extremist propaganda.

As the incident was first being reported, ” Smith took note of “an explosion of chatter” on Muslim State-linked social media stations where consumers were encouraging the attacker.

“When they market information about those kinds of incidents,” he explained, “that which it serves to achieve is to remind so-called fence sitters [from the West] … of how easy it is to go out and do what the team’s direction has prescribed, specifically executing quite easy strikes”

ISIS has called on its supporters in the West to execute attacks where they are currently using whatever materials they have available. So much in 2017, there were two in London four truck attacks motivated by the State, one in Barcelona and also the Tuesday attack in New York.

The messaging boosting those sorts of attacks has proven hard to cancel, use or contain to forecast who may perform a future attack as incidents in the United States and Europe have shown.

Based on Chris Meserole, a Brookings Institution expert on radicalization and fresh technology, only actors who engage in “do-it-yourself terrorism” pose a exceptional challenge for law enforcement and intelligence officials.

“The challenge for do-it-yourself terrorism is really significant,” he said, noting terrorist recruitment can occur with just a few taps on a smartphone. “They get into the program, they might click on a hashtag and then they’re one or two more taps off from linking to somebody who could point them in a violent way.”

Despite Twitter nixing nearly one thousand accounts the system is still being used by extremists that are savvy to make contact recruits. They have a suite of apps with all end-to-end encryption, for example Telegram or WhatsApp, in which they can immediately communicate without detection with individuals.

In the case of the New York City attack, there’s now no evidence that the defendant directly communicated using an ISIS operative.

One of lawmakers, there’s an increasing concern that social media websites who have so far been permitted to self-regulate, have not been prepared or able to take the steps required to combat radicalization or even the misuse of their platforms by other nefarious actors.

As lawmakers investigate the misuse of online advertising and social media platforms by Russian operatives, lawmakers over the left and right have demonstrated a willingness to place legislation.

“Today the internet and social media outlets are ungoverned space,” Sen. Graham said. “There is no regulation in this field.”

He lasted that terrorists are using “cyber ungoverned spaces to generate attacks against us” and to amuse and radicalize people within the country. “There is likely to be much more of this.”

President Donald Trump has issued a call to action after the Tuesday attack, which includes making modifications to the U.S. immigration system and potentially changing the penalty for terrorist crimes.

“We must get much tougher,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday. “We want rapid justice and we want powerful justice. Much faster and much more powerful than what we have at this time, because what we have right now is that a joke and a laughing stock.”

It was unclear what measures the president has in mind for making the prosecution of terrorism cases “more powerful,” but Sen. Graham told me that he talked with President Trump along with Attorney General Jeff Sessions about attempting terrorism suspects as unlawful enemy combatants, rather than criminals.

Graham said he considers Trump is “likely to be aggressive” and overturn President Barack Obama’s clinic of proscuting terrorism from criminal courts. Rather, terrorists suspects may be detained under the U.S. regulation of armed conflict and interrogated for the purpose of gathering intelligence.

Foreign misuse of platforms and the rise of terrorist has led some lawmakers to rethink controlling the technology giants.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who has historically been opposed to imposing new laws the business, was weighing the options. While he disagrees with every measure that could stifle free speech on the platforms, he noted, “On the other hand, we understand radicalization can come through those platforms.”

However, when it comes to the government’s role, Grassley said, “I do not think we’ve drawn any decision yet.”

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) Noted that his philosophy for a long time is to leave social and net media companies. However, given the capability of actors that are bad to operate on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube regulation might be in the cards.

“I don’t wish to switch to social media companies and say edit articles,” he mentioned, “but at exactly the exact same time I do not wish to allow individuals to [use the websites] to recruit terrorists.”

The Senate Judiciary subcommittee on terrorism and crime is planning follow-up hearings to look into measures .