The Weaponization of Social Media

Madeleine Worrall


People from all ages, from all over the world regularly use social media platforms as ways to communicate, express, retain and inform. In a lot of ways these platforms can be used for many good things, like adorable puppy Twitter accounts, informing the public of a weather change or traffic jams or even updating fans on the score of the big game. But as Americans we tend to shy away from the harsh truths, making us blind to the potential horrors of strategic social media use.

The Atlantic Journal had a great article of the ways that social media is becoming a weapon for war in U.S. and across the globe, the extreme. The article highlights that ISIS recruited 30,000 foreign fighters from different countries to fight against the U.S. with the use of Twitter. Twitter was also the vehicle that ISIS used to declare war on the United States. During the declaration, the media was unable to differentiate the accurate tweets and the fabricated ones from reported ISIS troops, fake accounts and other supporters of the ISIS force. Which is exactly what they wanted. Twitter was used a weapon against our own national security, media and military force. ISIS is known as “the first terrorist group to hold both physical and digital territory.”



What many advocates of peace around the globe are most widely afraid of, since this growth in media weaponry, is that much like ISIS, other terrorist groups will follow their lead and not only terrorize our countries, but also our social media platforms. This is such a huge concern for many reasons but some that I can think of, are the kids that may see these gruesome images, threats and the awful things that will be exposed to them. There is no such thing as censored media anymore with things like Twitter and Instagram being used for such evils.

We need to really be aware of what is being taken in, shared and promoted in media as journalist. These are uncertain times and we can either be subject to them or try to change them for the better.

Emerson T. Brooking and P. W. Singer. “War Goes Viral.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 11 Oct. 2016. Web. 05 Mar. 2017.

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism