With the move by Big Tech companies toward the censorship of conservative content online, Google has also removed the Ahoy anti-censorship app from the App store. This move limits access to a wide range of western sites for people behind restrictive internet policies of a number of countries — further hampering international access to information.
The tech company moves towards muting conservative speech have also led to a number of challenges in the counterterrorism arena, as a lax focus on terror profiles online has led to ISIS rebuilding their social presence.
Counterterrorism insiders are also concerned that ISIS has moved to extend their online recruitment from a cult driven model with a large network of recruiters to a hybrid model that leverages only violent aspects of the Muslim religion coupled with a “Branch Davidian” style indoctrination on one side with a new model that combines social media recruiting across several languages with 'terror academies' that focus on teaching bombmaking, derailment, and vehicle attacks.
U.S. advances on tackling ISIS through fake propaganda attacks and terrorist identification may face setbacks due to ISIS’s growth and increased utilization of the Telegram social platform.
Europeans' condemnation of the inefficiency of sites like YouTube also continues — as it was revealed that the site with 1.8 billion monthly viewers — only employs 200 people to scan for terrorist content.
The challenges of tackling ongoing ISIS activities, as well as Al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) will require cooperation between Big Tech (Google, Facebook, Twitter) and government. If these companies remain focused on censoring Conservative voices, like Alex Jones, rather than the challenges of global terror, we have an ongoing battle that could continue to wage into the 2020s. Additionally, should only limited steps be taken by Big Tech, expect countries like India and Pakistan to evaluate terminating some social app use within their borders, as the only effective measure to challenge terrorist recruitment.
Oz Sultan is a leading Big Data and counterterrorism expert who focuses on anti-recruiting and ISIS counterterror (CT) research within social media. He also advises a number of Fortune 1000 companies and is Adjunct Faculty at City University of New York (CUNY) Baruch. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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