Social Media as a Force Multiplier
proven very adept at using social media tools to win power, influence, recruits
and strategic advantage over their opponents. So far, they've mostly portrayed
their strategic, battle field, psychological and opponent success after they
have achieved it.
Here, I will
examine how they could, and likely will, use social media as a significant
force multiplier if they coordinate their assault with their social media
skills to cause panic, chaos, death and destruction in the United States.
Basically, after much research, I believe ISIS will create widespread panic
through the use of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
They will use social media as a force multiplier in tandem with an actual
physical assault within the United States.
media force multiplier as I use the term here is an individual or small team
who, through the use of special tactics, can do the damage of a much larger
force. It is easy to understand that a skilled sniper is a force multiplier on
the battle field. Why? Because one sniper can tie up an enemy battalion and are
capable of force multiplication without ever directly engaging the enemy, they
are a commonly known force multiplier. I propose that a few jihadi social media
“snipers” can create the kind of chaos, death, destruction, and panic to
millions of American civilians.
as a search term in Twitter. You will be amazed at the number of entries that
display when you do, and most of those entries support them.
you prefer, enter “#ISIL” as a search term in Twitter and you will get similar
social media tools, whatever safety we enjoyed once behind oceans and land
masses is gone. Every day and night, state sponsored and individual hackers’
strike at our government, our corporations, and our infrastructure. (Most
recently was the hacker attack against SONY.) As they are after specific
information, be it financial, military, or otherwise, they generally do not
destroy the servers or data or destroy electronic, digital, water, financial or
if ISIS were to strike those same networks? And what if they used their
substantial knowledge of social media as a force multiplier to increase their
They’ve already proven themselves to be very adept at using
their social media tools to recruit and train candidates from dozens of
nations. They’ve uploaded their combat and recruitment films to Facebook,
YouTube and Twitter. Their assault on Syria and Iraq was probably the first
combat operation that was widely carried live on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and
other social media.
They have demonstrated a professional grasp of messaging and
messaging tools. They understand that the optics as captured in social media is
as important to their victory as anything they achieve on the battlefield.
So…let’s take just one scenario.
Let’s assume that for a year or two ISIS and their
sympathizers accumulate weapons and explosives inside the United States. If
they preposition operatives and supplies in just 20 U.S. neighborhoods, they
have a rather formidable force. Then, they pick a day for a coordinated attack
and hit hard.
But knowing how powerful social media can be as a force
multiplier, they not only stock piled arms and explosives. They also set up
hundreds of accounts on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and other social media, and
preprogrammed smart phones to spread their message rapidly…all as a force
Syria and Iraq, they have one operative with a cell phone recording every action.
As fast as it happens, they upload it to social media websites like YouTube,
Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook using accounts they have already established.
And they comment about it all, enjoying the element of surprise and the
advantage of first report without counterviews reported.
terrorist journalist assigned to each strike force, they could quickly and
widely disseminate their message. A violent, coordinated, well executed attack
on a large number of American neighborhoods accompanied by a professionally
executed social media campaign, in addition to causing a large loss of life and
significant damage to property, could accomplish the penultimate goal of every
terrorist organization: panic.
have mastered this ability already. Just one Tweeter named Mahdi under the name
“Shami Witness,” an executive from Bangalore, India: “…spent his mornings,
afternoons and evenings sending thousands of tweets of propaganda about the
Islamic State militant group, acting as the leading conduit of information
between jihadi’s, supporters, and recruits.
tweets…were seen two million times each month, making him perhaps the most
influential Islamic State Twitter account, with over 17,700 followers.”[i]
how adept at using social media as a force multiplier the Islamic terrorist was
who struck the patrons of the Lindt café and chocolate store in Sydney,
Australia at the height of the Christmas shopping season and in the heart of
their financial district.
contrast to prior terrorist hostage takings going all the way back to when the
Palestine Liberation Organization who when they would hijack planes in the
1970’s silenced all hostages , the jihadi at the Lindt store allowed their hostages
to keep their phones. And he sent out a barrage of tweets to news media outlets
and others. Why?
they do that when doing so would provide an opportunity for them to communicate
with their families and the media?
some hostages call news outlets to try to get on the air. Again, why? I argue
they know by now very how powerful a force multiplier social media can be as a
way to get on the networks. While misguided, uninformed or defeatist analysts
in the West may label these actors “lone wolfs,” they are well aware they are
part of a larger, global jihad. They now
use social media as a force multiplier with the sword to continue their 1,400
year long drive for world domination.
Wells in his famous 1938 drama “War of the Worlds” achieved massive citizen
panic using just his voice and an earlier social media tool, the radio. ISIS
has far more sophisticated tools at its disposal, and it knows how to use them.
underway this kind of large-scale citizen panic is difficult to contain. As
they have already cut off captives heads, engaged in mass murder and mass rape,
enslaved thousands, turned Christian churches into prisons, recruited, trained
and activated suicide bombers and engaged in other widespread and repeated
violent behavior, their launching multiple attacks inside the U.S. is easily
their proven global proficiency and experience coordinating their attacks with
social media propaganda, ISIS using social media as a multiplier force when
they strike the United States is easily imaginable.
impact of that attack through their use of these social media tools for the
past several years in the Middle East and globally shows they are proficient in
their use, and they will use them here when they hit hard.
shut down ISIS social media tools BEFORE their use of them results in large
numbers of American death, panic, mayhem and destruction. The consequences of
waiting until AFTER this social media force multiplier is used on a larger
scale are unimaginable.
ISIS has proven very adept at using social media tools to win power, influence, recruits and strategic advantage over their opponents. So far, they've mostly portrayed their strategic, battle field, psychological and opponent success after they have achieved it.