US Taking New Approach For Battling Radicalisation Online

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From an endless supply of entertaining cat videos, to an invaluable method of keeping in touch with all our loved ones, social media has given us a great many benefits. Unfortunately, some of the benefits have been coopted and exploited by those with ill intentions. Radicalisation through social media is one of the gravest dangers the of internet. Authorities are finally taking notice.

US President Obama has met several times with social media companies in recent months to discuss combating radicalisation and the spread of extremism online. Seamus Hughes, deputy director of George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, attended one of the meetings, and said it was “a recognition that the government is ill-positioned and ill-equipped to counter ISIS online.”

The US government is more forthcoming than ever in admitting its faults on the matter. George Selim, director of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) office for “countering violent extremism,” has said authorities are ill equipped to fight “online recruitment efforts.”

To strengthen their efforts, the US government is looking for ways to help “communities and young people to amplify their own messages,” Selim said.

To do so, the US government is investing in “counter-narrative” programmes “at schools and community groups,” Today Online reports. One of the programmes, funded and run on cooperation with Facebook, aims to create “peer-to-peer (P2P) college courses that teach students to create their own anti-militant messaging.”

Past campaigns were too reliant on graphic imagery and fear-based rhetoric to be effective, experts say. We can only hope this new push will have better results.