'Terrorist' Use of the Internet: An Overblown Issue

Gilbert Ramsay

Abstract


The role of the Internet in promoting transnational recruitment for armed groups, particularly "terrorist" organisations, is often taken for granted. In reality, the evidence is far from clear-cut. Research on how contemporary armed groups use the Internet suggests that they themselves view the Internet with considerable suspicion. Such accounts, however, fail to take account of an arguably more important question: whether those groups which make extensive use of the Internet have actually been more effective in causing violence than groups which have either chosen not to use it, or which were operating before it came into existence.


Keywords


Terrorism; Internet; Social Media; Political Violence

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17192/meta.2016.6.5081

Gilbert Ramsay is a lecturer in international relations at the Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV) at the University of St Andrews. He works on media, mobilization and political violence and is the author of Jihadi Culture on the World Wide Web (2013), a book based on his PhD thesis. He is co-editor of State Terrorism and Human Rights: International Responses since the End of the Cold War (2013) and Globalizing Somalia: Multilateral, International and Transnational Repercussions of Conflict (2013).