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The Communicating and Marketing of Radicalism: A Case Study of ISIS and Cyber Recruitment



This article considers social media as a radicalization venue within the context of terrorism. The 2016 extremist/terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida showed the potential of an ISIS type extremist organization to leverage social media toward a lethal outcome within American society. While the ISIS organization originated overseas in a culture of which mainstream American society is unfamiliar, it is in many ways remarkable the level of success they quickly achieved connecting globally. Their efforts reflect the potential of social media to market a message of radicalism worldwide toward generating murderous converts who are willing to travel to join the fight or attack at home. Given these notions, this article considers the use of social media as an extremist cyber-recruitment tool.
DOI: 10.4018/IJCWT.2018070103
Volume 8 • Issue 3 • July-September 2018
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David McElreath, University of Mississippi, Oxford, USA
Daniel Adrian Doss, University of West Alabama, Livingston, USA
Leisa McElreath, Mississippi Crime Stoppers Board, Jackson, USA
Ashley Lindsley, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, USA
Glenna Lusk, University of Mississippi, Oxford, USA
Joseph Skinner, University of Mississippi, Oxford, USA
Ashley Wellman, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, USA
This article considers social media as a radicalization venue within the context of terrorism. The
2016 extremist/terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida showed the potential of an ISIS type extremist
organization to leverage social media toward a lethal outcome within American society. While the
ISIS organization originated overseas in a culture of which mainstream American society is unfamiliar,
it is in many ways remarkable the level of success they quickly achieved connecting globally. Their
efforts reflect the potential of social media to market a message of radicalism worldwide toward
generating murderous converts who are willing to travel to join the fight or attack at home. Given
these notions, this article considers the use of social media as an extremist cyber-recruitment tool.
Advertising, Domestic Terror, Extremist, Homeland Security, ISIL, ISIS, Radicalization, Social Media, Terrorism,
On Sunday, June 12, 2016, about 2:00 A.M., Omar Mateen, age 29, entered a nightclub in Orlando,
Florida, and committed one of the worst acts of terror and hate to occur in the United States since the
attacks of September 2001. Within three hours, Mateen was killed as the result of his final confrontation
with law enforcement officers. Mateen, a New York born resident of Florida, claimed in a 911 call to
local law enforcement during the attack to be acting in support of the Islamic State (ISIS). During the
Volume 8 • Issue 3 • July-September 2018
conversation, he invoked the names of the Boston marathon bombers. When his murderous rampage
was over, at least 100 people had been either killed or seriously injured. Soon after the attacks, ISIS
claimed responsibility for the shooting through a statement on its Amaq news agency. The questions
quickly asked pertained to the motivation that led to Mateen’s attack. What fueled his extremism?
What had served as a platform for radicalization? Was it something within him, fueled by his family,
inculcated within his mosque, or inspired by messages easily found on the Internet?
After radicalization, other attempts to support extremist ideology may be quashed before
lethality occurs. For instance, in Mississippi, two former Mississippi State University (MSU) students
attempted to flee the United States and join the ISIS extremist/radical organization. Both had viewed
propaganda videos on the Internet, and one of them expressed the desire (via Tweeter) to visit ISIS
territory overseas (Green, 2017). Their endeavors were short-lived because the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) arrested them when they attempted to leave the country (Green, 2017).
Extremist influences are unconstrained by geography. Given the advent and proliferation of the
Internet, extremist organizations may access a global community with their respective ideologies. The
motivations underlying criminal endeavors within the virtual world often parallel similar motivations
that exist within physical reality (Doss, Henley, & McElreath, 2013a; 2013b). Thus, individual or
group motivations may contribute toward some illicit behaviors within society. Given these notions,
this article examines the leveraging of social media whereby individuals become sympathetic to
extremist causes, and follow through toward some forms of supportiveness for the extremist entity.
This article examines these notions via the lens of the ISIS extremist organization.
Chatfield, Reddick, & Brajawidagda (2015) introduced an extremist network communication
framework that incorporated social media as its technological foundation. Within the paradigm, social
media networking facilitated extremist propaganda, radicalization, and recruitment with respect to the
overall goals of the extremist activities (Chatfield, Reddick, & Brajawidagda, 2015). Social media
platforms invoke iterations of the communications cycle (Schreck & Keim, 2013). Typically, the
communications cycle involves processes of crafting, encoding, transmitting, receiving, decoding,
and providing feedback for intended messages throughout a continuum permeated by various forms
of noise (Doss, Glover, Goza, & Wigginton, 2014). Within the context of the communication process,
social media may be used to personalize messaging and communicating between participating entities
whereby feedback responses may be generated (Bennett & Segerberg, 2012; Leonardi, Huysman, &
Steinfield, 2013; Williams & Chinn, 2010). Radicalization involves a human process wherein someone
experiences a changed mindset and behavior. Blackwell (2016) considered radicalization with respect
to human needs and Maslow’s Hierarchy. Blackwell (2016) indicated that ISIS was successful in its
radicalization effort because it responded to human needs and provided a means whereby individuals
perceived their needs could be fulfilled. Given these notions, coupled with extremist messaging via
communication networks, the framework herein incorporates considerations of Maslow’s Hierarchy
with respect to human attempts of satisfying needs through affiliation with terrorist entities. In other
words, the radicalization process contains a mixture of human needs that people perceive may be
satisfied through some type of affiliation with terrorism.
The ISIS organization disseminated information via social media to facilitate radicalization that
produced tragic results. Through experiencing propaganda disseminated by ISIS via the Internet,
coupled with personal, unique needs and desires, individuals across the world changed their mindsets
and behaviors toward engaging in terrorism. Although the Orlando incident was lethal and dubbed
the worst public shooting in American history, the Mississippi incident involved neither lethality nor
destruction because of law enforcement interdiction. Regardless, regarding the framework context,
these incidents had commonness – changed human mindsets, that were fueled by a combination of
needs and social media, and that resulted in people leaning toward an ISIS affiliation.
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This article employed a phenomenological approach to examining the leveraging of social media
and the Internet as a resource for generating extremist converts. This article incorporated an open
source intelligence paradigm as its methodological basis for examining the phenomenon of the ISIS
extremist organization luring and converting individuals via the Internet, and inciting them to perform
extremist acts. Open source intelligence (OSINT) was defined as an “intelligence discipline that
pertains to intelligence produced from publicly available information that is collected, exploited, and
disseminated in a timely manner to an appropriate audience for the purpose of addressing a specific
intelligence and information requirement” (U.S. Army, 2012, p. 1).
The OSINT approach represented a relevant technique for amalgamating materials concerning
popular attitude changes and discontent, emergences of religious and political movements, and
leadership disillusionment (Best & Cumming, 2007). The OSINT approach involved acquiring “any
verbal, written, or electronically transmitted material that can be legally acquired; this includes
newspapers, magazines, unclassified journals, conference papers and preprints of articles, as well as
the broadcasts of public radio and television stations and various material appearances on the internet”
(Richelson, 2008, p. 317). Academically, the OSINT method was used to examine the potential of
foreign extremist organizations to strike American society, such as the dangers of the Iranian Al-Qods
organization (Wigginton et al., 2015).
Given the OSINT perspective, this article examined issues associated with the dissemination of
extremist propaganda and its efficacy toward radicalization via social media. This article incorporated
an intelligence approach to examining the use of Internet social media for extremist communication and
radicalization through the lens of the ISIS extremist organization. Examination of the organizations
activities necessitates considerations of the dynamic attributes of terrorism, attractiveness of the
disseminated message within the social media domain, recruiting potentials, and potential long-term
implications for both the organization and society. Given this notion, this article provided synthesis
of recent news reports and academic literature to generate some understanding of U.S. radicalization
and social media within the ISIS context.
During the 1990s, right-wing extremism surpassed left-wing terrorism as the most dangerous domestic
extremist threat to the country, such as the bombing of abortion clinics (McElreath et al., 2014).
Before 9/11, special interest extremism, characterized by groups such as the Animal Liberation Front
(ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), emerged as a serious extremist threat (Doss, Jones &
Sumrall, 2010). The FBI considered sovereign-citizen extremists as a domestic extremist movement.
Although domestic terrorism remains a threat nationally, it has been supplanted by the threat of
international terrorism that endangers American society, especially by inspiring an attack internally
through radicalization of an American citizen or resident (McElreath et al., 2014).
American society faces a wide range of challenges and threats. One of the most concerning and
challenging threats is the viable possibility of an attack within the U.S. perpetrated by an American
citizen or resident inspired to radical action (Wright, 2016). Given the efficacy of ISIS’s ideology and
social media propaganda regarding the Orlando and Mississippi incidents, the dangers of domestic
radicalization proved to be real. The ISIS organization proved to be a very dangerous force not only
in the Middle East, but also in Europe. Its European attacks reflected is deadliness and capabilities
to strike outside the Middle East, such as the attacks by the gunmen at the Paris Bataclan theater or
the American citizen and his wife who murdered 14 co-workers at a holiday party in San Bernardino,
California (Singer & Brooking, 2015). Although American society has uncannily experienced few
substantial domestic attacks, the chances of radicalization among future Islamic generations within
its borders must be considered as a potential threat (Post & Sheffer, 2007).
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Until 2016, ISIS demonstrated not only extreme violence, but resiliency that surprised many
international observers. Despite its relatively small size, it propagated extremist ideology globally via
social media both effectively and successfully (Hoffman, 2017). In 2016, in recognition of violence
and the threat ISIS posed in the region, the former U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, announced
that the American government had determined that the crimes committed by the ISIS amounted to
genocide (Benson, 2017). This event was the first time the U.S. declared genocide since Darfur in 2004.
The first recognized jihadist website, the Islamic Media Center, originated in 1991. Many more soon
followed. These simple websites provided quick and universal access to jihadist literature. By the late
1990s, chat rooms and forum boards also became a regular feature of the sites (Singer & Emerson,
2015). For ISIS, social media was integral to its rise and sustainment. Effective engagement through
the use of cyber-based communications enabled ISIS militants to raise its prestige among terror groups,
and to overtake older jihadist competitors, such as al-Qaeda. It served the purposes of coordinating
troops, winning battles and administering the territory under its control (Singer & Emerson, 2015).
When the United States government designated ISIS as a terror organization, any support or
assistance by a U.S. citizen or resident alien became illegal. As of 2016, the Federal Bureau of
Investigation reported cases involving over 90 Americans providing support for ISIS (Lichtblau,
2016). Some of these individuals were accused of plotting attacks in the United States on behalf of
ISIS (Lichtblau, 2016). Others were accused of providing support and assistance to the organization
(Lichtblau, 2016). Some of these individuals attempted to travel, or facilitate the travel of others, in
hopes of joining ISIS (e.g., the Mississippi incident) whereas others provided money or equipment
to ISIS members.
These individuals represented a variety of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. Their median
age was 25, approximately 75% were American citizens, and 90% were male (Green, 2017). At least
33% converted to Islam, and approximately 25% involved individuals from Arabic descent (Green,
2017). Despite demographic variances, most all shared some commonness: about 90% of the incidents
involved social media, often with online conversations with supposed recruiters, either undercover
or actual (Green, 2017).
A question appropriate to ask is: What inspired Americans to provide support to ISIS, and
as importantly, how did they communicate with ISIS? The answer to both of these questions may
be simple. Even though the Islamic State’s ideology is explicitly at odds with the West, the group
made relentless efforts to recruit Westerners into its ranks (Sorenson, 2014). Such individuals were
typically ignorant of religion, especially Islam (Sorenson, 2014; Wellman, 2014). ISIS exploited them
for its outsize propaganda value. During January 2016, according to the U.S. Director of National
Intelligence, at least 250 Americans were thought to have traveled to join jihadists in Syria and
Iraq where they served as ISIS fighters (Engel, 2015). These Americans were among nearly 4,000
Westerners believed to be in the ranks of ISIS (Engel, 2015). These fighters posed a great threat to
the United States not only because of their ability to travel freely and blend more easily into Western
nations, but also because of a great and real concern about the danger they posed when and if they
returned to the nation of their citizenship.
The MSU incident showed that propaganda may be disseminated effectively throughout the
world via social media. The two students had susceptibilities that eventually segued into volitional
actions. Muhammad Dakhlalla was from a Muslim family, and Jaelyn Young converted to Islam after
experiencing emotional turmoil while a student (Green, 2017). When she converted to Islam, there
were concerns about Young’s mental health (Green, 2017). Through social media and the Internet,
both individuals were radicalized together from reading and viewing propaganda. Young viewed
ISIS terrorists as liberators, and approved of their Internet video that showed the execution of a
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man who was assumed to be homosexual (Associated Press, 2016a). She also expressed approval
for the 2015 shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in which five U.S. military personnel were killed
(Associated Press, 2016a). In 2015, Young sought online advice regarding methods of traveling to
Syria, and eventually contacted undercover FBI personnel (Associated Press, 2016a). Dakhlalla was
also influenced toward ISIS sympathies via Internet propaganda (Associated Press, 2016b). Dakhlalla
indicated that the propaganda materials showed supposed ISIS humanitarian efforts toward helping
needy individuals and building towns (Bronstein & Griffin, 2016). Young spurred Dakhlalla to join
ISIS, and planned their intended trip overseas using a honeymoon as the cover story (Associated
Press, 2016b). Dakhlalla attributed his participation in their endeavor to his love for Young, and stated,
“love can ultimately ... blind out your intelligence, your reasoning. I believe that. I mean, without
that love there, I don’t believe I would be here today, with my charge and talking to you today. ... I
wouldn’t have even considered it at all” (Bronstein & Griffin, 2016, p. 1).
In some cases, radicalization may be traced back to mosques operating within U.S. cities which
advocated extreme radicalism. For others, radicalization involved the effective use of the Internet to
reach out and influence those to whom the message of ISIS and radicalism may have appealed. The
targets for radicalization were not confined to Muslims alone. Recruitment targeted and spanned
religions, social economic groups, ethnic backgrounds and educational levels. A wide net was cast in
the hope of achieving success one radicalized individual at a time. When considering the use of virtual
methods, an interesting observation emerges: mass numbers of recruits and converts were unnecessary
for generating a threat; instead, a single person could wreak some amount of havoc within society.
Torok (2010) indicated that similar individuals have a tendency for finding each other via social
networking resources. Thus, the answers to the “how” question were straightforward. The Internet has
enhanced the sharing of information, facilitated communications, served as a platform for education
training, and created a global community (Wellman, Reddington, & Clark, 2017). It has also provided
a mechanism for extremist organizations, both domestic and international, to prospect for individuals
who may find their message of extremism appealing. As in the case of ISIS, its ability to conduct
extremist attacks in cities outside the Middle East, such as Paris or their willingness to decapitate
Westerners and journalists, was beyond disturbing. Even more heinous was the ability to use social
media to radicalize and recruit young European and American teens using Twitter, Facebook, and
YouTube (Geiger, 2015). Recruiting became an industry because efforts were multiplied by a cadre
of operators using social media.
This battle on the information front, waged through the Internet, was run by skilled professionals
from Iraq and Syria, as well as media personnel from other Arab-Muslim countries and the West (Meir
Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, 2014). The extremist group itself maintained
a 24-hour online operation, and its effectiveness was vastly extended by larger rings of sympathetic
volunteers and fans that disseminated its messages and shared viewpoints, attracting potential recruits.
Individuals who worked for ISIS, using cyber-based resources to communicate, radicalize and enact
terror, were raised on the Internet, and they understood how to talk to young people using their
language (Hahn, 2015). By being technically and socially versed, they attempted to use videos and
images to connect the potential recruit and better understand and exploit a person’s psyche that left
them vulnerable to recruitment and radicalization (Hahn, 2015).
ISIS tailored its messages to specific audiences, recruited a vast and dedicated network of
distributors, and exploited the natural vitality of social networks to amplify its call to jihad (Geller,
2016). This was a well-organized and sophisticated operation in which ISIS carefully controlled
information. In a sign of just how potent ISIS’s message was, it was believed the majority of the
people disseminating pro-extremist content were not even members of the group but simply fans of
its work (Geller, 2016). This was one of the keys to its successful information/propaganda distribution
model (Geller, 2016).
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The propaganda also incorporated an emotional appeal for viewers. For instance, through social
media, ISIS spread an appeal for troubled souls to join the caliphate and experience a life of glory
during the “apocalyptic end times” (Green, 2017, p. 1). The propaganda’s appeal also promised a
meaningful life while fighting for the caliphate (Green, 2017). The appeal also accommodated potential
respondents that were unable to travel overseas to join ISIS. Disturbingly, it included the directive,
“… and if you can’t come, kill somebody where you are” (Green, 2017).
As examples of the increased sophistication of ISIS’s use of the Internet, in April 2014, ISIS
developed a free internet application called The Dawn of Glad Tidings, which automatically posted
tweets, approved by ISIS media managers, to the accounts of the application’s subscribed users
(Irshaid, 2014). Once a user signed up, the app was allowed to access personal data and make posts
to their accounts. The automated messages were spaced out to avoid detection by anti-spam software.
This technique allowed them to keep their messages in the trending hashtags and exaggerate their
influence (Merchant, 2015). Shortly thereafter, on June 19, 2014, ISIS began a campaign called “A
billion Muslims support the Islamic State” (Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center,
2014). This initiative by ISIS called on its supporters around the world to show their solidarity, through
the use of their Twitter accounts (Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, 2014).
As an element of power, ISIS appeared to understand the value of tailored propaganda in
marketing, including recruitment. ISIS online propaganda not only touted its violent acts against
unbelievers, but also the lifestyle the group claimed to offer its members. The message ISIS distributed
had undoubtedly inspired many, especially younger recruits from outside the region of the Middle
East, to travel to Iraq and Syria in an effort to serve ISIS, often with fatal results. Many of these
recruits, who brought to ISIS little skills, soon found themselves unprepared in combat or, in some
cases, used as suicide bombers.
Many examples highlighted the successful recruitment and radicalization through the use of the
Internet. Some of the more high-profile ISIS recruitment efforts included three teenage girls from
Denver, sisters aged 15 and 17 and a 16-year-old friend, who were stopped in Germany on their way
to Syria (Brumfield, 2014). Also, Mohammed Hamzah Khan, age 19, was arrested at Chicago’s
O’Hare airport and subsequently plead not guilty to attempting to provide material support to a
foreign extremist organization (CBS News, 2015). Additionally, nineteen-year-old Shannon Conley
of suburban Denver was sentenced to four years in prison after she pleaded guilty to one count of
conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign extremist organization (CBS News, 2015).
Most recently was the case of Mohamad Jamal Khweis. In June 2016, Mohamad Jamal Khweis,
26, who grew up in Virginia, gained the distinction of being the first American to have been captured
on the battlefield affiliated with ISIS (Browne, 2016). After being captured in March 2016, Khweis
said he renounced the terror group and described it as unrepresentative of Islam, calling life under
the organization “really, really bad” (Browne, 2016). Khweis admitted to conducting extensively
researching ISIS in 2015, including frequently watching ISIS execution videos and using social
media to privately contact ISIS to smuggle him across the Turkish-Syrian border (Browne, 2016).
Commensurate with the MSU couple, Khwei, Khan, Conley, and the Denver sisters all made a
choice to advocate terrorism or extremism. When considering ISIS, its successfulness in generating
such converts stems from a consideration of human needs within the context of Maslow’s Hierarchy.
Blackwell (2016) indicated that ISIS’s success resulted from its understanding of human nature and
human need. Through leveraging appeals to susceptible individuals, changed mindsets and actions
occurred because they perceived the ISIS organization as a medium for satisfying their needs
(Blackwell, 2016). For instance, ISIS appeared to different individuals in different fashions, and
exploited ‘friendship’ among peer networks to supposedly satisfy needs of belonging, friendship,
esteem, purpose, and group membership (Blackwell, 2016).
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No one factor exists that is universally applicable to someone becoming radicalized. Certainly,
radicalization is not constrained to any one group, religion, or geographic region. Conceptually, it
represents the changing of mindsets and behaviors to an extremist view that may result in violence or
death. Even a decade after 9-11, no consensus existed regarding the causes of radicalization (Coolseat,
2011). A variety of catalysts exist, including social, economic, political, psychological, and religious
factors, that have contributed toward radicalization (Hudson, 1999; Loza, 2006; Windsor, 2018). Some
economic factors may contribute toward radicalization and terrorism. Among some regions, poverty
(Ardila, 2002), economic declines (Mazarr, 2004), unemployment (Sageman, 2004), and disparities
between the rich and poor were considered as catalysts (McCauley, 2002).
Ekici (2009) indicated that social needs may also facilitate terrorism because humans have some
need for belonging and group affiliation. Individuals have the desire to identify themselves with
respect to a chosen group (Ekici, 2009). Given these notions, Ekici (2009) indicated that individuals
may attempt to join terrorist organizations because they may identify more with the group instead of
anyone else, such as friends or family.
Many terrorists have been derived from middle-class families, were educated and married, and
held employment (Sageman, 2004). The socioeconomic and political attributes contributing toward
terrorism may vary depending upon individual situations (Gow, Olonisakin, & Dijxhoorn, 2013).
Economic situations may also impact radicalism, but are not the sole considerations of changed
behavior (Coolsaet, 2011). Poor socio-economic conditions may generate opportunities for political
radicalization to occur, including self-recruitment (Coolseat, 2011).
Terrorism may also result from political systems becoming incapable of fulfilling the needs of
constituents (Ekici, 2009). If political factions exercise preference among community groups, then
some individuals may resort to violence because their needs are unmet or may be disabled from the
resources necessary for satisfying their needs (Ekici, 2009). Given these notions, the desire to satisfy
needs among political venues may contribute toward terrorist activity (Ekici, 2009).
Psychological aspects of terrorism provide some basis for better understanding radicalism. Some
discounted the notion that terrorists exhibited personality abnormalities or attributes that prompted
them to become terrorists (Hudson, 1999; Reid, 2002; Sageman, 2004). From a psychological
perspective, some believe that terrorists emerged from normal emotional commitments to certain
causes and their peers (McCauley, 2002). These individuals were well-educated males, and were
devoutly dedicated toward the jihadism (Loza, 2007). They became involved with terrorist activities
because such endeavors provided fulfillment for self-actualization, status, and direction (Sageman,
2004; Thackrah, 2004) and camaraderie that may otherwise have been unachievable (Mazarr, 2004;
Schwind, 2005).
Some individuals who have an unfulfilled need for religious satisfaction may also be susceptible to
radicalization. Religion may contribute toward terrorism provided that individuals were not provided
with correct and adequate religious teaching (Ekici, 2009). In other words, the need corresponding to
religious satisfaction may be fulfilled by an entity that manipulates and distorts religious information
(Ekici, 2009). By doing so, someone’s worldview may be altered through attempts to satisfy religious
needs via an extremist source.
Conversion involved a variety of routes. In some cases, social and psychological socialization
occurred through various recruiters from terrorist organizations (Schmid & Price, 2011). Others
attributed conversion to the desire for personal fulfillment and a meaningful life toward supporting
some cause (Schmid & Price, 2011). In such cases, individuals may or may not officially affiliate
with a terrorist group regardless of perpetrating terrorism (Schmid & Price, 2011). Radicalization
does not always occur alone. In other words, it may occur among groups wherein multiple individuals
may become radicalized together (Schmid & Price, 2011).
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A variety of cases and examples abound with respect to radicalized individuals who attempted
to inflict harm or death within society. Mohamed Merah, who killed seven folks that consisted of
school children, a rabbi, and peer Muslims, perpetrated a series of shootings in the French cities of
Montauban and Toulouse (Williams, 2015). Aqsa Mahmood, a wealthy Scottish woman, abandoned
her educational pursuits at the University of Glasgow for the purpose of marrying a Syrian ISIS
fighter, and became a recruiter for the terrorist organization (Williams, 2015). Nidal Hassan, a former
U.S. Army psychiatrist, perpetrated a shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, in which 13 people were killed,
and another 28 were wounded (Williams, 2015). Joshua Cummings, who converted to Islam and was
a former Army sergeant, was charged with murdering Scott van Lanken who formerly pastored an
Assembly of God church and worked as a security guard (Lounsberry, 2017). Syed Rizwan Farook
and Tashfeen Malik (his wife) perpetrated a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, that killed
14 folks during a holiday celebration (Ahmed, 2015). Malik posted allegiance to ISIS via the Internet
(Ahmed, 2015). Mohammed Youssef Abdulazeez shot and killed four U.S. Marines and one sailor at
a Navy Reserve center in Chattanooga, Tennessee (Dorell, 2017). James Comey, FBI Director, stated
that he was doubtlessly “inspired, motivated by foreign terrorist propaganda” (Dorell, 2017, p.1).
Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, born in Memphis as Carlos Bledsoe, converted to Islam, traveled
to Yemen, and stated his desire to engage holy war against Israel and the United States (Dorell, 2017).
After returning to America, in Little Rock, Arkansas, he perpetrated a drive-by shooting at a military
recruiting office. After his capture, he indicated that he desired to kill as many U.S. personnel as was
possible (Dorell, 2017).
Radicalism represents a changing view from supporting one concept in favor of another, and possibly
acting physically with respect to the ideological tenets of the favored argument. Radicalization
represents a strong commitment to a favored ideology and use of violence toward attaining its goals
and objectives while simultaneously reducing commitments to any alternative or competing values
and goals (Midhio, Ismadi, & Waluyo, 2017). Radicalization was not the result of a random process.
Instead, it emerged from multiple origins, including socioeconomic, discrimination, politics, ethnic
issues, and religion (Midhio, Ismadi, & Waluyo, 2017). Susceptibilities to radicalization include
ideological, psychological, religious, sociostructural, and socialization factors (Midhio, Ismadi, &
Waluyo, 2017).
Many individuals who converted to terrorist behaviors typically showed social alienation, a lack
of societal participation, and unemployment (Hudson, 1999). Among Western societies, converts
exhibited some amounts of idealism and intellectualism (Hudson, 1999). Throughout the conversion
process, converts have shown beginning states of sympathy for terrorist causes and ideologies (Hudson,
1999). Next, passive supportiveness occured, and was exacerbated by some type of experience, such
as confrontation (Hudson, 1999). Afterward, individuals were spurred toward group membership
(Hudson, 1999).
Overall, social media outlets have become a choice resource for social and political engagements
among youth throughout the last decade (Awan, 2006). Such discourses may often be positive and
contribute toward hierarchical leveling for both power and knowledge (Castells, 2009). Social media also
reinforces the “democratizing and egalitarian nature” of virtual spaces (Awan, 2006, p. 6). Awan (2006)
indicated that several reasons exist for the combination of individuals, technology, and radicalization. The
modern generation is familiar with virtual environments, and much of its daily endeavors occur using
media environments, such as gaming, dating, shopping, networking, learning, reading news, watching
video, and so forth (Awan, 2006). Each of these activities is the virtual counterpart of the same activities
that occur in physical reality. However, younger generations prefer engaging in such activities online
among virtual environments (Awan, 2006). Thus, among younger individuals, both activism politically
and escapism radically occur among virtual environments (Awan, 2006).
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Despite the benefits of vast amounts of information available among virtual environments, there
are drawbacks to global connectedness. Connected worldwide, the Internet and its virtual environments
provide numerous opportunities for anyone to create virtual spaces or to seek virtual spaces involving
like-minded individuals. It provides opportunities for individuals who have extremist leanings to
generate or seek materials and others that are commensurate with their beliefs and ideologies.
Given such notions, Awan (2006, p. 6) indicated that such individuals engaged in “highly cloistered,
immersive environments” wherein they could insulate themselves from alternate views of reality or
interpretive frameworks. Among such insular, virtual settings, radical ideology may flourish, and
any contrasting arguments, debates, or dialogues are impermissible or stifled (Awan, Hoskins, &
O’Loughlin, 2011). Given an absence of incongruent thought, such virtual environments amplify
rhetoric thereby predisposing individuals to accepting radical perspectives and grooming susceptible
individuals toward extremism (Awan, 2006).
Radicalization processes may occur through linear (Borum, 2004; Moghaddam, 2005;
Wiktorowicz, 2005) or non-linear models (Sageman, 2008). Borum (2004) indicated that economic
and social factors contribute toward radicalization. Additional influences included resentment and
factors of inequality (Borum, 2004). Borum’s (2004) paradigm also included acts of blaming and
stereotyping aggressors. Moghaddam (2005) attributed radicalization to interpreting psychologically
environmental conditions, perceptions of fighting again unfair treatment, displacing aggression,
moral influences, categorical thought, and terrorism. Wiktorowicz (2005) indicated that cognitive
opportunity, religion, and socialization contributed toward radicalization. Sageman (2008) indicated
that feelings of moral outrage, empathy within the context of personal experience, and frameworks
influencing worldviews contributed to radicalization. Within Sageman’s (2008) model, mobilizing
occurred through the use of networks.
The process of radicalization requires time and a mixture of certain factors. The cumulative process
entails three primary components: 1) some type of motivation, 2) some type of goal or ideology, and
3) social process whereby one encounters ideology (Kruglanski, et al., 2014). In addition to time, it
requires an aroused significance goal, a shift of commitment, and the realization that terrorism or
violence is a means of achieving significance (Kruglanski, et al., 2014). Activating the significance
goal is necessary for inducing behavior. Typically, it is activated through experiencing some type of
catalyst, such as humiliation or some type of incentive (Kruglanski, et al., 2014).
The Internet is a powerful tool. Through using social media as well as encrypted online communications
that were beyond the reach of law enforcement surveillance, extremist organizations increasingly
reached new sympathizers. As a result, foreign extremist organizations enjoyed direct, unparalleled
access into the United States (Sanchez, 2015). For ISIS, cyberspace was another dimension in
its ongoing struggle to establish a caliphate. Using the Internet to share its messages, including
radicalization, it achieved the inspiration for attacks by individuals or extremist cells. Additionally, by
attracting Westerners, ISIS believed it added a degree of legitimacy in the eyes of the world community.
Also, by using Westerners, such as “Jihadi John” who was identified as a British Muslim and
subsequently reportedly killed in a drone strike, to behead other Westerners on videos uploaded to the
internet, ISIS quickly caught the attention of just about every major news outlet globally. By doing
so, it furthered sending a message of legitimacy wherein it attempted to appear as a major, regional
force that was beyond the power of any enemy.
The skills and tactics of ISIS toward developing and disseminating its propaganda constantly
improved. As an example, the Brookings Institute conducted an extensive report on the social
media habits of ISIS (Berger, 2015). Brookings found from September through December 2014,
at least 46,000 Twitter accounts were used by ISIS supporters, though not all of the accounts were
simultaneously active (Berger, 2015). The ability to maintain Internet communication when accounts
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were being disabled was another indication of the resiliency of its cyber initiative. Brookings reported
the most popular languages of these Twitter accounts were English and Arabic (Berger, 2015). The
use of such languages was an attempt to influence a western target population (Berger, 2015).
Although its capability to use the Internet constantly improved, it also found different ways to
share its messages. Much of its propaganda was barbaric, including imagery showing ISIS captives
literally digging their own graves (Kingsley, 2014). Within Twitter, images were posted of a cold-
blooded massacre of Iraqi soldiers in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown (Kingsley, 2014). It also
produced and distributed messages emphasizing its social activity, photos of supporters bringing
in the harvest, or delivering food shipments, in an attempt to show a softer side of the organization
(Kingsley, 2014).
CIA Director John Brennan stated that interconnected technology helped “groups similar to ISIS
coordinate operations, attract new recruits, disseminate propaganda and inspire sympathizers across
the globe . . . a lone extremist can go online and learn how to carry out an attack without ever
leaving home” (Merchant, 2015). Since it allowed them to expand, carry out remote attacks, and stay
organized, it became harder to dissemble extremist groups (Merchant, 2015). Even as early as 2014,
the Islamic State (ISIS) had its own multilingual media arm, Al Hayat, which was behind the creation
and distribution of its propaganda magazine aimed at recruiting jihadists from the West (Harris,
2014). It was sophisticated, attractive, and printed in several languages, including English (Harris,
2014). Titled Dabiq, it was a monthly online publication that had higher production values than
many Western magazines (Harris, 2014). These publications were used as a platform in which ISIS
shaped discussions of issues concerning politics, faith, jihad, and even bomb-making (Harris, 2014).
A sense of belonging – the desire to be accepted and ‘fit in’ – is typical of human nature. Maslow’s
Hierarchy of Needs reflected this notion within its progressive construct, specifically within its third,
middle level (Montana & Charnov, 2008). This desire for acceptance and belonging may fuel one’s
decision to seek out, contribute, assist, or join an organization. Within the virtual world, fulfilling
social needs involved fulfilling both belonging emotionally and presence socially (Cao et al., 2013,
p. 174; Wellman et al., 2014; Wellman, 2013). Higher social presence levels tend to fuel greater
motivation individually toward interaction with other individuals (Cao et al., 2013). Such concepts
were applicable within the ISIS context because extremist organizations tended to “offer a sense of
belonging, purpose, and the promise of recognition and status to anyone who works on their behalf”
(Lyons-Padilla et al., 2015).
These notions may be considered from the perspectives of individuals who attempted to join
the ISIS organization. During 2014, three Colorado teenagers attempted to run away and join ISIS
(Brumfield, 2015). It was speculated that the teenagers sought some form of acceptance socially (CBS
News, 2014). Many teenagers may not have experienced a sense of belonging where they lived, and
they believed ISIS could provide it for them (Brumfield, 2015). The lure of ISIS via social media
proved a dangerous and tragic temptation for the youngsters.
Many individuals who succumb to the radicalization process experience some identity issues.
Central among these issues are needs for purpose, belonging, and meaning as catalysts for affiliating
with terrorist organizations (Christmann, 2012). Among youths who are developing psychologically
and maturing, a strong chance exists for radicalization to occur as they experience major changes
throughout life transitions (Bhui, Everett, & Jones, 2014). Examples range from changing educational
experiences to residential alterations (Wright & Hankins, 2016). This stage in life may cause vulnerable
individuals susceptible to recruitment via the social identity that may be conferred from altered
Volume 8 • Issue 3 • July-September 2018
thinking paradigms, new experiences, and ideological perspectives of global events that affect the
individual (Bhui, Everett, & Jones, 2014).
These considerations applicable to Muslims living in first-world nations. Susceptible Muslim
individuals who may succumb to the recruiting efforts of Islamic terrorist propaganda and recruiters
may be both male and female, range in age from teens to the early thirties, and may be socially awkward
(Huitt, 2016). They may not be accepted completely among Western or Muslim communities where
they participate or reside, and may exhibit only a “general knowledge of Islam” (Huitt, 2016). From
the perspective of Maslow’s hierarchy, such individuals experience the satisfying of many needs by
living within a first-world nation (Huitt, 2016). In such cases, the physiological needs of shelter,
food, sleep, sex, security, and safety were never issues (Huitt, 2016). However, because of age or
environment, unsatisfied needs exist among the upper levels of Maslow’s construct that contributes
toward influencing identity (Huitt, 2016). Therefore, issues may exist with senses of right versus
wrong, self-worth, goals, and morals (Huitt, 2016).
Within the U.S., deemed ‘Muslim Ghettos,various Muslim communities exist that are separated
from their surrounding environments. This designation is often negatively associated with communities
as potential breeding grounds for radical Islam (Huitt, 2016). Being separated from external cultures
and experiencing various levels of assimilation may cause individuals to have varying levels of social
ineptness (Huitt, 2016). By not being fully accepted and neither a complete part of Muslim or external
societies, the “lack of belonging” provides a catalyst for susceptibility to influence (Huitt, 2016). In
order to influence such individuals, terrorist recruiters may exploit such individuals by offering the
chance to belong somewhere through a tainted version of Islam, offering them some type of perceived
purpose, and an opportunity to affiliate with “their homeland” (Huitt, 2016).
The Internet was the perfect place for ISIS recruiters to find and target future supporters and potential
members. It social media to lure more and more Americans, who were often young, sometimes
disillusioned. Similar to an advertising agency, ISIS shaped its message to an intended target audience.
Online, it was easy to remain anonymous and to keep recruitment a secret process. Identities were
easily masked, and information was easily transmitted. This provided ISIS an advantage in its efforts
to use cyberspace as another theater of operation in its struggle to establish a caliphate. Sanchez (2015)
indicated that it disseminated thousands of various messages among virtual outlets, and hoped that
they would be attractive to someone who was susceptible to it propaganda.
The ISIS organization also maintained an active force of recruiters. Many recruiters became
extremely proficient in their jobs. When ISIS established contact and determined the prospect was
susceptible, it sought to build trust and further manipulation (Engel, 2015). Recruiters used messaging
applications, such as Kik, to communicate with those who wanted advice about how to enter Syria
(Engel, 2015). Its propaganda included brochures on how to travel to Syria, what to pack, and how
recruiters could arrange for an ISIS member to meet new recruits in Turkey, and how to cross the
Syrian border (Engel, 2015).
Recruiters were known to ship gifts to prospective individuals, and sometimes even funded travel
via airlines (Singer & Emerson, 2015). If the recruit was unable to travel, recruiters encouraged their
recruit to perform terror attacks at home (Singer & Emerson, 2015). As late as 2015, when money
flowed, ISIS recruiters were motivated to convert others to jihadists (Citizens for Global Solutions,
2015). Conversion occurred not only to propagate extremist values, but also to make a significant
amount of money through a recruitment bounty system. At the time, ISIS paid its supporters a
maximum of $10,000 for every person they recruited (Citizens for Global Solutions, 2015). The price
paid depended on who was recruited and their skills and talents. Most desirable were the well educated
in certain fields, such as computer specialists or doctors (Citizens for Global Solutions, 2015). Active
recruitment, combined with Internet propaganda, resulted in some measurable recruitment successes.
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It is hard to believe an American or European teen embracing the recruitment message clearly
understood they were being targeted with a message that was ultimately intended to radicalize and
take them into a violent warzone. Targeted teenagers were unlikely to understand that they were
expected to join a remorselessly murderous organization where human life was proven to mean very
little. Many of these individuals were naïve in their belief that the message they received was honest
and forthright. The ideas that recruiters planted within their minds were fantasies. For instance, two
young American women were lured to Syria on the pretext of providing humanitarian aid. After a new
“friend” helped them enter the nation, they were taken to an ISIS compound and ended up serving
as sex slaves for ISIS fighters (Citizens for Global Solutions, 2015).
While it is unknown how many supporters and fighters were inspired or recruited through social
media, the dangers posed by cyber-radicalization were and are real. Even if ISIS, or other extremist
organizations, international or domestic, managed to recruit a small percentage of the targeted audience,
dangers would persist for communities and fellow citizens (Carson & Wellman, 2018).
In the case of one of the MSU students, 20-year-old Jaelyn Young attempted to fly to Syria
with the intention of joining ISIS. The former MSU sophomore was the perfect reminder that there
are no stereotypical extremists. In her farewell letter to her family, she stated, “Don’t look for me
because you won’t be able to retrieve me if you tried” (Deguit, 2016). In March 2016, she pleaded
guilty in federal court (Uffalussy, 2016). During 2016, ISIS targeted another vulnerable population.
The extremist group launched an online application geared toward children. The application, named
Huroof, taught the Arabic alphabet with a step-by-step process using games, a nasheed, and Islamic
songs (DeFillo, 2016).
A State Department program to counter the caliphate’s messaging cycled through a series of initiatives
with minimal effect. Islamic State supporters online repeatedly slipped around efforts to block them on
Twitter and Facebook (Miller & Mekhennet, 2015). Although the United States and its allies has found
little to no meaningful answers to stop the propaganda battle waged by ISIS, the struggle continues.
The struggle to neutralize the effects of ISIS’s media campaign was waged by numerous groups
and fashions. Google, Twitter, and Facebook—platforms intended for free and unfettered speech—
aggressively revised their terms of service to ban jihadist content. Google’s YouTube deputized some
human-rights groups as “trusted flaggers” to identify ISIS content; Twitter banned indirect forms
of violent threats; Facebook proactively removed known jihadists from its service (Bruenig, 2015).
After declaring cyber war on ISIS after the Friday night attacks on Paris, hacktivist group Anonymous
created a sophisticated system for detecting and downing ISIS members’ Twitter accounts (Bruenig,
2015). Initial reports place the number of suspended accounts at anywhere between 3,800 and 5,500
(Bruenig, 2015).
Over the past few years, many new forces marshaled to engage ISIS within social media. The
United States launched a constellation of social-media accounts to battle ISIS misinformation while
ISIS networks were mapped through what they revealed of themselves online (one U.S. air strike was
even guided by an oversharing jihadist). Outside government, social-media companies increasingly
revised their own systems and terms of service in an effort to eliminate extremist accounts before
they spread, as with Twitter’s recent ban of all “indirect threats of violence.” Hacker and independent
activists also played an increasing role. Many associated with the hacking collective Anonymous
patrolled the darker places of the Internet, waging their own private fight to take down ISIS content
wherever it is found (Singer & Brooking, 2015).
In an ongoing effort to battle ISIS, Ghost Security Group, a splinter organization of Anonymous,
served as a counterterrorism organization that combatted extremism using the internet as a weapon.
It was believed the Ghost Security Group contained 12 core members, but relied on hundreds of
part-time volunteers to find out which accounts should be targeted (Stone, 2015). Its cyber operations
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consisted of collecting actionable threat data, advanced analytics, offensive strategies, surveillance,
and providing situational awareness through relentless cyber terrain vigilance. Through its efforts, it
was estimated that over 100,000 social media accounts were suspended and several hundred websites
were taken down that had supported ISIS and other radical extremist groups (Reisinger, 2015).
Additionally, Ghost Security Group launched denial of service attacks against known ISIS websites,
knocking them offline for various periods of time (Stone, 2015). Also, it intercepted tweets among ISIS
members and forwarded them to international law enforcement (Stone, 2015). Additionally, posing
as potential recruits, hackers slowly gathered data about their ISIS recruiters, using cyber forensics
to identify and locate specific individuals (Stone, 2015). This information was then revealed to the
world and passed to local authorities. One such tip, discovered by the hacktivists of Ghost Security,
helped avert a terror attack in Tunisia (Stone, 2015).
Social media was as an element of ISIS’s strategy to advance radicalization. As an example,
targeting by ISIS supporters was evident in the release of hundreds of names of U.S. military personnel
(Sanchez, 2015). The names were posted to the Internet and quickly spread via social media (Sanchez,
2015). It was difficult to impede ISIS from spreading its ideology via the Internet (Merchant, 2015).
As a result, the potential for an internationally inspired attack within the borders of the nation is
high. Extremists, especially individual and small cells, unsupported by larger organizations pose a
real, though physically limited danger. The way ISIS operated its social media campaign indicated it
moved from being an insular group to actively reaching out to the world in search of recruits who were
inspired to action, thus increasing the chances of an attack in areas that were previously inaccessible
to traditional ISIS forces (Irshaid, 2014).
The two former MSU students were interdicted by FBI agents. Despite their online conversations
and engagements, they communicated with undercover agents whose online presence contributed
toward discovering and neutralizing potential threats. Although American law enforcement maintains
such an online presence, it is not the only method for employing countermeasures. American law
enforcement enacted several community measures to counter the threat of terrorism. Benard (2005)
reported an emphasis toward directing youth energies toward civic engagement as a possible
countermeasure. Downing (2007) emphasized the necessity of identifying threats that alienated
communities posed as potential breeding grounds and terrorist refuges. In New York, countermeasures
included synchronization involving law enforcement counterterrorism units and intelligence areas
(Cannon, 2011). In California, various efforts existed toward abating threat potentials. The Los Angeles
Sheriff’s Department enacted community outreach as a countermeasure. Leadership engaged among
community relations efforts, and shared their respective intelligence and experiences with others
throughout the nation (Baca, 2011). Such endeavors included professional diplomacy as a method
of crafting better methods of countering radicalization (Baca, 2011).
Some approaches have involved community efforts toward prevention and pre-emption (Kosseim,
2011). Leaders have targeted public safety directives locally with respect to the demographics of
urban immigrant populations (Kosseim, 2011). Law enforcement personnel who possessed a good
knowledge of these areas were better suited for addressing community issues and bolstering security
(Kosseim, 2011). Regardless of municipality size, Kosseim (2011) indicated that cooperation should
exist among factions of governments, private sector entities, and non-governmental organizations. In
doing so, a unified approach existed toward combating possible threats (Kosseim, 2011).
Countermeasures may also be considered from the virtual perspective of social media. Social
media Internet sites represent amalgamations of mass data sets (Fuchs, 2017). Within the context
of social computing, such data sets may be useful for a variety of purposes, including terrorism
prediction (Wang, Zeng, Carley, & Mao, 2007). Thus, various methods of data mining and pattern
matching may be used for identifying potential threats (Fuchs, 2017). However, such approaches
are not foolproof because not all terrorist entities announce their intentions via the Internet (Fuchs,
2017). However, when discovered, suspects may be monitored electronically in the hope of avoiding
incidents (Fuchs, 2017).
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Other countermeasures include sting operations conducted among virtual environments, such
as the FBI operation that resulted in the arrests of Dakhlalla and Young. Commensurate with the
emerging of media, the FBI honed tactics and skills necessary for recording the plans and methods
of anticipated terrorist events as well as preventing the expected incidents from occurring (Altheide,
2013). Examples of quashed incidents include intended bombings and shootings (Altheide, 2013).
The spreading of the terror based ideology of extremists is unquestionably a dangerous endeavor. As
seen by past events, the influence of the social media activities within the virtual can translate into
horrendous lethality in physical reality. This notion is especially a tautology regarding ISIS given
the excessiveness of moral turpitude that pervaded its endeavors and criminal behaviors. Regardless
of the motivations for joining and serving ISIS, the dangerousness of domestic radicalization must
neither be ignored nor discounted given the lethality of the Orlando attack. Such incidents showed
that ISIS’s use of social media represented the potential of an extremist entity to inflict harm within
the borders of America society despite its organizational presence existing primarily overseas.
The Internet is open to all that may access its ubiquitous presence. The effectiveness of ideological
radicalization is not necessarily constrained to the information and messages disseminated and
conveyed by ISIS through the Internet. Instead, other extremist organizations may find similar use
of the Internet’s social media venues wherein they may also attempt to lure and persuade wayward
individuals for satisfying their illicit purposes. Despite the best attempts to deter and quash such
communication and persuasion, no guarantees exist that domestic radicalization shall never again
prove lethal within society. Instead, the dangers of extremist propaganda via social media remain a
dangerous threat globally.
The current generation finishing high school and entering college represents the initial generation
to experience a post-9-11 world since birth. This generation also matured and developed in a world
where the Internet and social media ubiquitously affected communication, behaviors, and social
relationships both societally and individually. Technology has been seamlessly integrated as a lifestyle
centerpiece among lifestyles of the maturing generation. Given these notions, coupled with the
effectiveness of ISIS to entice and convert youths, one cannot discount the potential of other extremist
groups to also leverage virtual means of spreading extremism and radicalism. Given the increases
of networked technologies among generational lifestyles, the dangers of social media radicalization
may grow through time.
Motivations for committing crime in the virtual environment are similar to the catalysts that
cause crime in physical reality. Essentially, by capitalizing upon some motivation or temptation,
ISIS demonstrated a modicum of success with its use of the Internet and social media to disseminate
and convey its messages of extremism and radicalism. Enticing, luring, converting, and catalyzing
even just one youth toward extremist endeavors endangers innocents within society. The potential
of transforming someone who feels isolated from society toward sympathy for extremist ideology is
a reality of the Internet modern social media. ISIS is not the only organization that seeks to inflict
harm societally. Many other terrorist and extremist organizations exist which also have the potential
and capacity for leveraging similarly social media for calamitous purposes.
The use of social media and Internet technologies to generate radicalization favorable toward
ISIS’s extremist views and corresponding endeavors represents a form of cyber-crime. Similar to its
physical counterpart, cyber-crime is anything society says it is via the legislative process, expressed
and codified, and made enforceable by proper government authority. However, despite the presence
of cyber-crime, corresponding laws are emerging to address, counter, and punish crime in the virtual
setting. Radicalization incidents provide a basis for examining the crafting of evolving of appropriate
cyber-laws, especially among national boundaries. Future research endeavors may examine the
evolution of cyber-laws within the context of cyber-crime involving extremism and terrorism.
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Approximately 90% of radicalized incidents involved online conversation and interaction with
supposed recruiters. Given this notion, one may ponder what is it about the experience of online
conversation that may contribute toward changing mindsets and radicalizing otherwise innocuous
people? What would influence an assumedly ‘normal’ individual, and change them from being
harmless to someone that commits treasonous activity against their nation? Future research endeavors
may examine the relationship between the characteristics of online conversation versus changed
behaviors indicative of radicalism.
Given the lethality of San Bernadino, California and Orlando, Florida, coupled with the failed
attempts of two former MSU students to join ISIS, a variety of future research endeavors may be
envisioned. Future research endeavors may investigate the efficacy of conversion with respect to social
media. For instance, additional research may explore what psychological, political, religious, social,
or socioeconomic factors contributed toward radicalization and extremist activities among youths
whose lifestyles occurred among developed areas. Additionally, such research may also explore the
online habits and susceptibilities of such individuals.
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Volume 8 • Issue 3 • July-September 2018
Daniel Adrian Doss is an Associate Professor at the University of West Alabama. His research interests include
information systems, higher education, homeland security and terrorism, cybercrime, and criminology. He possesses
a doctorate in police science from the University of South Africa.
Joe Skinner USN (ret)- Commanded USS Louisville (SSN 724); PACOM Chief Northeast Asia Policy; OSD
Policy for Taiwan. Masters: National Security and International Affairs (US Naval War College); Criminal Justice
(University of Mississippi).
Ashley Wellman is a lecturer at Texas Christian University. Her research focuses on the lived experiences of
homicide survivors, families of cold cases, and the survivors of sexual assault. She holds a PhD in Criminology,
Law and Society from the University of Florida.
Wellman, A. (2013). Grief in comparison: Use of social comparison among cold case homicide survivors.
Journal of Loss and Trauma: International Perspectives on Stress & Coping, 19(5), 462–473. doi:10.1080/15
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Windsor, L. (2018). The language of radicalization: Female Internet recruitment to participation in ISIS activities.
Terrorism and Political Violence, 1–33. doi:10.1080/09546553.2017.1385457
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homegrown Jihadis in the US. Perspectives on Terrorism, 10(1), 32-40.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
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