|Photo Credit: @RJCJO (Royal Court's Twitter)|
The Young Are the Prime Victims
of Terrorism and Extremism
Lured by Promises of
Social Media Mustered By
Terrorists to Target Youth
Alliances for Peacemaking
A Generation at Risk from Extremism
Noting that there are “nearly 73 million jobless, young men and women, and more than 14 million young refugees and displaced persons,” the young Prince declared that the susceptibility to extremism knows no geographic boundaries in a world where so many young people are confronted with joblessness and hopelessness.
Takeaways from the
Crown Prince’s Talk
- The young are both the primary victims of terrorism and the primary targets of recruitment for terrorism.
- It is because of their “huge potential, self-confidence, and ability to change the world,” that the young are targeted for recruitment by terrorists.
- Terrorism’s enemy is humanity, regardless of religion, gender, age or nationality.
- The war on terror concerns us all.
- “Swift measures” should be taken to “stop feeding the fires of terrorism with the blood of our youth.”
- “Poverty, unemployment, ignorance and weak familial ties create fertile ground for extremist thought.
- More than half of the world’s population is under the age of thirty and the majority is in developing countries.
- Social media must be used to create alliances that promote peace.
Terrorists Tap Twitter and Other
Social Platforms for Recruitment
Tweeting Support of Terrorism?
There was an App for that.
Brookings reported that terrorists even developed a mobile app to send out automated mobile messages to Twitter supporting terrorism. According to Brookings, “At its peak, it sent tens of thousands of tweets per day.”
The report also noted that “ISIS supporters were much more active than the average Twitter user.” Its study identified a group of 1,575 accounts that “tweeted more than 50 times per day on average, with 545 tweeting more than 150 times per day.” According to Brookings, these “prolonged bursts of activity” caused “hashtags to trend, resulting in third-party aggregation and insertion of tweeted content into search results.”
Terrorist Accounts Sometimes
Buy Their “Followers”
Supporters of terrorism aren’t above buying followers. Brookings noted that pro-terrorism accounts tended to have more followers than the average Twitter account and that some of the accounts with larger followers had used spam bots to fill their following.
Hope from a Future King
In the face of extremism and terrorism, a young Crown Prince has managed to provide a vision of hope for “the largest generation of young people in human history,” “where peace, equality, respect, dialogue, coexistence and acceptance of differences are core values.”
To build on the message of youth involvement in peacemaking, the Crown Prince concluded his remarks by announcing that Jordan would be hosting a conference on “The Role of Youth in Making Sustainable Peace,” sometime in August of this year, “aimed at enhancing the capabilities of young peacemakers in confronting extremism and terrorism.” It cannot come too soon.
If we aren’t connected on Twitter, please feel free to join me there: @GlenGilmore
PLEASE NOTE: In March of this year, I had the privilege of touring Jordan with a group of bloggers as a guest of the Jordan Tourism Board, as a travel blogger, @TravelEsquire. From that experience and an earlier visit to Jordan as a speaker at a tech conference, MENA-ICT, I have come to have a particular fondness for the efforts of the Jordanian leadership and people in promoting peace in the region. A visit to their country will demonstrate that tolerance and mutual respect for diversity have found a home in Jordan. This writer hopes others will follow that great model and the leadership of a future king.