BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Terrorists who use social media as a weapon. That’s one avenue investigators are exploring in the aftermath of the San Bernardino massacre.
Alex DeMetrick reports the internet has opened more than one door to terror.
The wife pledged loyalty to ISIS on Facebook shortly before the San Bernardino couple murdered 14 people. Social media postings like ISIS videos may have nurtured their hatred.
“And as the internet erases the distance between countries, we see growing efforts by terrorists to poison the minds of people like the Boston marathon bombers and the San Bernardino killers,” said President Barack Obama.
There are websites where ISIS messages sent on social media are collected. The themes range from threats to pledges of religious faith in the cause of jihad.
“ISIS is not just posting words on Twitter and Facebook; they’re posting graphic videos,” said Ben Yelin, University of Maryland Center for Health & Homeland Security.
And the University of Maryland’s Center for Health & Homeland Security has been keeping track.
“And I think the people who might be vulnerable to this type of propaganda, they’re having unprecedented access to it,” Yelin said.
Reaching out to a lone wolf with propaganda is only half of the problem. The other half is the messages ISIS tries to hide through encryption methods, like planned attacks with the group’s backing.
“Terrorists have changed from using traditional social media outlets like Twitter to outlets where they can have greater encryption, like Snapchat and even video game consoles,” Yelin said.
The kind of place direct marching orders can hide.
The White House is asking social media outlets to alert authorities if they find suspicious activities on their sites.