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Online forum on terrorist use of social networking tools

Countering the use of Internet for terrorist purposes


The online forum will focus on key issues related to how terrorists use Social Networking Tools to communicate, network, incite, glorify and plan. Based on a discussion paper circulated to OSCE participating and Partner States, the goal of the forum discussions will be to identify pertinent responses in line with OSCE commitments as well as to identify how the OSCE can further contribute to countering terrorist use of Social Networking Tools.


A recent report highlighted that 90% of terrorist activity on the Internet takes place using social networking tools. That terrorists are using the Internet is not new; that nearly their entire activity takes place in the relative openness of social networking is a relatively new finding. Terrorists appear to transform low cost and easily accessible social media into a strategic facilitator to communicate, network, incite, glorify and plan. As such, social media can potentially act as a force-multiplier enhancing the organising capabilities of a terrorist group, its ability to shape the public narrative as well as attract the attention of potential new recruits. This forum will explore how best to respond to terrorist use of social networking tools and focus on the following aspects and issues:

  • Enhancing Law enforcement responses: How can terrorist social media content be most effectively addressed taking into account data protection, discrimination, privacy, freedom of opinion and expression, and profiling concerns? How can automated processes aid in this process? What is a potential OSCE role in this?
  • Empowering Internet users and civil society: How can broad scale end user awareness raising be systematically achieved? What frameworks exist or need to be created for authorities to enlist civil society effectively to tackle and flag terrorist social networking activities without limiting their work in the anti-terrorism context and imposing a monitoring obligation? What is a potential OSCE role in this?
  • Clarifying the role of the private sector: What is/can be done by the private sector to decrease users being exposed to terrorist activities on social networking sites while at the same time a due legal process and the respect for human rights are upheld, in particular the protection of privacy/private data? What incentives could be given to service providers that appeal to their corporate social responsibility of protecting clients from potential harm? What is a potential OSCE role in this?

The forum is part of a Series of four Online Expert Forums in 2012 on 1) the Internet used as tactical facilitator by terrorists, 2) terrorist use of social networking tools, 3) right wing extremism/terrorist use of the Internet, and 4) institutionalizing Public Private Partnerships to combat terrorist use of the Internet. The conclusions and recommendations of all four forums will be compiled in a report showcasing good practices and responses to this specific threat - embedded within wider cyber security efforts, taking into account the specificities of terrorists as a perpetrator group. One key component of this initiative will be to elaborate on options how the OSCE could further complement international efforts in this field.

The forum will open on 2 July 2012 (9:00 hrs, Vienna time) and close on 6 July 2012 (17:00 hrs, Vienna time).


Added on
30 Mar 2017
OSCE Secretariat / Transnational Threats Department / Action against Terrorism Unit
Online event
OSCE Secretariat / Transnational Threats Department / Action against Terrorism Unit
Delegations, Experts, International organizations, Law enforcement officers, OSCE staff
terrorism, cybercrime