Should Social Media Be Used To Identify Radicalism?
The fragile balance between security and privacy.
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Social media has increasingly become part of our lives. Criminals too. Over the last couple of years, sites such as Facebook and Twitter have been extremely useful for the police by giving them evidence during their investigations.
A murderer was caught when he took a picture of him and the dead body on the picture app Snapchat, in addition to that, a woman who planned an attack on a wealthy man was found guilty because of the video she posted a video of them celebrating with the stolen money on Facebook, and many paedophiles have been caught exploiting children on social media. Therefore, if social media can provide the police with evidence during a trial, shouldn’t it be used more proactively to identify the plans of radicals and extremists?
Over the last couple of months, Twitter has been used to identify those men and women who travel to Syria to fight with terrorist groups, and this has been shocking to many of us. Recently, a teenage boy was found to be planning to carry out an attack similar to that of the murder of Lee Rigby. He idolised Lee Rigby’s killers and even showed his girlfriend the weapons he planned to use. What is even more shocking is that, he posted on Facebook, under the name Mujahid Karim supporting the Sharia Law and stated that he was “willing to die in the cause of Allah”. This then poses the question, why did no one report him? Why was the police not aware?
If he had not been caught on his way to carry out the attack, what would have happened? A lot of taxpayers’ money goes into the running of the MET police, so the public are expected to be safe, especially from the growing terrorism threat. Zalmai had been arrested previously in 2014 and was later released. If this man has been previously arrested, he should be monitored thoroughly, especially if it was with terrorism charges. This is when we start to lose faith in the police system. However, he was free to use social media to spread his radical ideas and even inform his “friends” about his attack.
Therefore, in order to have a more efficient police system and establish the safety of the British public, social media should be used by the MET to identify individuals with strong links to terrorism before they devastate our society.