NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With one of the suspects in Wednesday’s San Bernardino attack using social media to praise the Islamic State group, some are calling for terrorists to be shut out of certain websites.
Terror experts point out that social media campaigns by ISIS and other terror groups are so effective that 50 people every day enlist in their radical cause.
The United States, experts say, has to take the fight to them on their own turf. It’s not only boots on the ground, it’s fighting a social media war, too.
With the disclosure that San Bernardino attacker Tashfeen Malik pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a Facebook post, there is a call for a new type of action.
“I think we should do it if we can, to shut down social media when it involves ISIS, when it involves Islamic radicalization,” said U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-Long Island. “They may find ways to get around it, but the more obstacles we can throw in their way, the better.”
Manny Gomez, a former FBI agent whose job was to go after terrorists, said shutting down Facebook, Twitter and other Internet sites is an absolute necessity, but he said it’s more than that.
We have to “launch our own media campaign telling people, ‘Hey, this is the reality about ISIS: It’s a culture of violence and death,'” he said. “And put people that successfully escaped and have those people tell on the Internet and on Facebook and on social media, say, ‘Listen, yeah, I was there, and this is what happened: I got raped, I got assaulted.
“On the defensive side, we need to strip them of their media power, of their production power, of their social media and Internet capabilities — shut it down,” Gomez said. “On the offensive, put our campaign out in the media.
“Every time we drop a bomb on them to take one sharpshooter from a rooftop, it costs us a million dollars. Why can’t we spend a million dollars on a media campaign?”
Some say the government should pass laws to enable it to shut down the terror social media sites.
“We should, as a country, certainly call on these companies voluntarily to shut this down whenever it’s detected, whenever we come upon it,” King said.
Gomez even suggested there should be a hotline to talk people out of joining the terror groups. He called it the “1-800 Prevent Me from Becoming a Suicide Bomber Hotline.”