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WhatsApp and clandestine recruitment

Turki Aldakhil

Published: Updated:

We no longer need studies to prove that social networking sites provide welcome space for extremist and terrorist activities. WhatsApp was the last app criminal Khaled Masood used before carrying out his attack at the British Parliament.

Few days ago, Twitter said that in the past 10 months, it took down more than 376,000 accounts because they promoted terrorism. The total number of accounts frozen ever since Twitter adopted the policy of cracking down on terror-related accounts in August 2015 is 636,248.

Twitter noted that the percentage of accounts it deleted upon governments’ requests is 2 percent. Twitter and WhatsApp are two apps that have been used by extremists very often.

This poses an overwhelming challenge and puts very heavy responsibility on parents’ shoulders. How can they control their children using these social networking tools?

Turki Aldakhil

Recruitment network

There are groups whose members include militants in Syria and Iraq and to which children and teenagers are added. This is probably how secret recruitment network of extremists operate. This is done by following ways that families and the society are unaware of.

This poses an overwhelming challenge and puts very heavy responsibility on parents’ shoulders. How can they control their children using these social networking tools?

Khaled Masood, who terrorized London, was in his 50s. Was his misuse of WhatsApp his parents’ responsibility? No. But don’t ask me whose responsibility it is because I don’t know.

This article was first published in Okaz on March 30.
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Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.