An Expert Explains How Social Media Can Lead to the ‘Self-Radicalization’ of Terrorists

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This article is based on an interview with Michael A. Stefanone, an expert in behaviour and the social psychology of technology. The interview discusses the San Bernardino terrorist attacks and follows the realization that the perpetrators pledged allegiance to ISIS prior to the attacks. It offers some informative insight into both in-group and individual behaviours online, and particularly the relationship between radicalization and social media usage. It also discusses ISIS’ use of social media, the types of people who are vulnerable to being radicalized by their strategy, and the limitations of government in lessening the threat from terrorist use of the Internet.

This article will be of use to researchers and practitioners interested in the use of social media by ISIS and other terrorist organizations, and particularly the type of in-group communities they are able to create online.

Full article is available here >>

Brian McManus

December 2015