Digital Media and terrorism - Sample Harvard Essay

Last Updated: 29 June 2019

Topic: Digital Media and terrorism: how radical organizations used social media in their activist Roles


Type: Proposal  (Arts)
Pages: 5
Level: Postgraduate Level
Deadline: 2016-01-26 22:31:37 PST
Style: Harvard
Customer Language: United Kingdom (UK English)
Sources: 7
INTRODUCTION (about the importance of social media in recent years)


- IMPORTANCE OF THE STUDY (explain why this study is important and especially among Saudi people)


- THE STUDY PROBLEM (there is a problem in the Arab world with digital media, where radical organization became use this new media in their propaganda)


- RESEARCH GOALS AND OBJECTIVES (The main goal is to identify whether that social media has in influencing the users and readers in Saudi Arabia. It seeks to determine that social media has contributed to the dissemination of news and announcements by radical organizations).
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY (two methods will be used, the first one is interviews with Saudi users and the other one is the content analysis that gathered from new media "Twitter").


The Harvard Essay Sample


DIGITAL MEDIA AND TERRORISM: HOW RADICAL ORGANIZATIONS USE SOCIAL MEDIA IN THEIR ACTIVITIES


 


 


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DIGITAL MEDIA AND TERRORISM: HOW RADICAL ORGANIZATIONS USE SOCIAL MEDIA IN THEIR ACTIVITIES


Introduction


The advent of the internet has made globalization easier making the world more of a global village. Recently, the advent of social media sites has taken the communication industry to a whole new level (Thompson, 2011, p.167). Authors have not been left behind either, most of the authors focus on the benefits of social media as a communication tool. Individuals gravitate the social media sites such as Facebook, Snap Chat, Twitter and Instagram for information as well as interaction, whether be it for insight or entertainment. The social media sites have been bases where marketers target consumers free of charge.  The statistics of the people joining social media sites have in recent years increased a great deal. The social media allows businesses to market their brands and communicate directly with the customers. Most importantly, social media platforms have also become resident places or opinion givers who are approached to endorse various products or ideas in real life (Thompson, 2011, p. 169). The political domain has not been left out either; the social media is used by different bodies to get public opinion on issues to do with political campaigns as well as matters of political concern. The social media thus provide a useful resource for pertinent political information. The social media also aids in the maintenance of social ties among friends, families, and workmates (Thompson, 2011, p. 170). Nonetheless, there are those who use the social media for unlawful purposes such as cyberbullying, propagating lies and propaganda, blackmail and breeding all sorts of criminal activities including terrorism (Thompson, 2011, p. 171). The understanding of how social media is used to the benefit of the radical organization is a matter of urgency owing to the peril which it poses to the whole world amidst the security challenges.


Importance of the Study


Saudi Arabia has been on the spot for being vulnerable to the penetration of the radical groups most of which target the religious groups made of millions of religious faithful and clerics. Perlov & Guzansky (2014) note that Saudi Arabia’s total number of social media users has grown by 300% compared to the recent past. Recent studies indicate most of the Saudi Arabian citizens being regular users of social media like YouTube and Twitter. Vividly, the per capita of the users in Saudi is the highest in the world. The male users outdo female users, accounting for 87% of the users (Perlov & Guzansky, 2014). Unlike other parts of Arab where the social media usage has been connected to negative use, in Saudi, it is seen as a communication tool. A series of recent studies have shown that 20% of the Saudi Citizens use the social media for reading and watching religious content while 8% use the social platforms for religious interests (Perlov & Guzansky, 2014). However, recently due to civilization and a large number of youths who go to the West for studies, there has been a change in the use of social media. The change of perspectives and usage of social media raises a red flag.


Regrettably, the same media initially used for positive reasons is currently being used to fight for social change and challenge the monarchy. A good example is a Women2Drive campaign that advocated for the rights of women (Perlov & Guzansky, 2014). This study is, therefore, significant to Saudi Arabia is that most of the youths are slowly getting to use social media to champion for change. Therefore, the country is at risk of being infiltrated by radical organizations who come in the pretense that they are also fighting for the same rights. Saudi Arabia being an Islamic state is an obvious target of terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria that are seeking to expand their territory in the Arabian Peninsula and the neighboring areas. These terrorist groups use social media to coordinate their activities such as recruiting, extremism and radicalization.


The Study Problem 


The Arab world has had a few issues whose root course has been social media. Tunisia, Egypt, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia are some of the countries where social media has been used not only for social gains but also for political gains (Samin, 2012). The social media influencers in the region use social media to send messages and communicate to their followers on matters that criticize those in power (ADL, 2015). Archetti (2015) reckons the case of Arab spring stating that the social media has been used in other parts of the world to spread the jihadist teachings making the youth get radicalized, quoting that if the same happened elsewhere, it is possible in the Middle East and other Arab nations. The usage of Twitter and YouTube among Saudi citizens is impressive, and it must be remembered that it has been used to stir up revolutions such as the Arab Spring (Heywood, 2013, p.88). However, in the underground, some teams bypass the regulations of the government and use the same media to propagate propaganda leading to the spread of extremism and radicalization (Archetti, 2015). Saudi Arabia can be a target of the ISIS, which has taken roots in other Arabic nations (ADL, 2015). Furthermore, the groupings in Saudi make it easier for most radical organizations to infiltrate and manipulate social media for their benefits.


Research Questions


This research study will be driven by some research questions that are connected to its objectives and goals.



  1. Has social media influenced the users and readers in Saudi Arabia?

  2. Has social media contributed to the dissemination of news and announcements by radical organizations?


Research Goals and Objectives


 This research study has two principal aims and objectives.



  1. The primary goal is to determine the extent to which social media has influenced the users and readers in Saudi Arabia.

  2. The second objective is to determine how social media contributes to the dissemination of news and announcements by radical organizations.


Research Methodology


 This study shall involve the use of interviews and analysis of content from Twitter-the new social media with a high number of users in Saudi. The interviews will include both open-ended and direct questions to enable the collection of diverse views. Interviews add a human dimension to remote data and are best placed in getting insights over contentious topics (Wrenn, Loudon, & Stevens, 2010, p. 110). The major advantage of interviews is that it enables the obtaining of data about opinions as well as perceptions. Secondly, the interviewees cannot be influenced. Thirdly, the interviewer can clarify some points that are ambiguous. The interviewer can also gauge the correctness of the answers based on body language and other personal factors. Lastly, the interviews are easy to conduct if well arranged (Wrenn, Loudon, & Stevens, 2010, p. 110). The only disadvantage of interviews is that they can be time-consuming, costly and tedious to conduct. The second method would involve the analysis of content from Twitter with inclusion criteria being the Saudi Arabian users of Twitter. The right thing with such analysis is that it offers first-hand data that cannot be biased at any cost. Furthermore, little or no permission is required to access such information because the information is open for the public.


Conclusion


This study is significant to the security bodies around the world. Furthermore, the Saudi Government is also likely to benefit from the same in coming up with policies and measures to counter terrorism activities that are likely to infiltrate the country based on the open and uncontrolled usage of the social media. The study once finished will open up a whole new area for researchers to focus on the quest for understanding the actions of the terrorists.


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


Reference List


ADL. (2015). Hashtag Terror: How ISIS Manipulates Social Media. Retrieved from www.adl.org/combating-hate/international-extremism-terrorism/c/isis-islamic-state-social-media.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/#.VqdVrfl97IU


Archetti, C. (2015). Terrorism, Communication and New Media: Explaining Radicalization in the Digital Age | Archetti | Perspectives on Terrorism. Retrieved from http://www.terrorismanalysts.com/pt/index.php/pot/article/view/401/html


Heywood, A. (2013). Politics. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: New York.


Perlov, O., & Guzansky, Y. (2014, February 5). The Social Media Discourse in Saudi Arabia | Scoop News. Retrieved January 26, 2016, from http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1402/S00077/the-social-media-discourse-in-saudi-arabia.htm


Samin, N. (2012, February 12). Arab Media & Society. Retrieved from http://www.arabmediasociety.com/?article=785


Thompson, R. (2011). Radicalization and the Use of Social Media. Journal of Strategic Security4(4), 167-190. doi:10.5038/1944-0472.4.4.8


Wrenn, B., Loudon, D. L., & Stevens, R. E. (2010). Marketing Research: Text and Cases (4th ed.). New York: Best Business Books.