There’s nothing new about this. Most of the time, interaction via the internet is usually the window from which extremism find its way into a murderer’s mind.
New York terror suspect Akayed Ullah is a Bangladeshi man who immigrated to the US in 2011 via a family reunification application to join his American uncle. Ullah said he began the process of self-radicalization in 2014 when he began to watch ISIS material on the internet, including videos which called on supporters to carry out attacks in their own countries if they could not travel to other places.
Internet creators and social media addicts had propagated fallacies that the expansion of social media is not the reason behind extremism. However, Western governments have now acknowledged the problem of dealing with the epidemic of social media.
Social media has not only provided directives to extremists, helped in recruiting terrorists and built a supporting terrorist ‘family’ network that provides criminals with a sentimental umbrella but they have also distorted people’s ordinary lives and spontaneous relations and encouraged malicious values like glorifying vanity and sanctifying lightness.
Of course, the creators of these giant apps which make billions in profit and those who make financial gains through them hate this talk.
We have repeatedly said that it’s not possible to wish ourselves away from this reality surrounding us but we must remind ourselves of the origins of things which stipulate that proper values that govern morals and practices will remain the same, whether social media activists like that or not, even if after a while.Mashari al-Thayidi
However, there are rare moments of acknowledging the harm which these social media outlets have caused. Recently, Chamath Palihapitiya, Facebook’s head of user growth from 2007 until 2011, said during a lecture at Stanford University: “We have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” adding that he does not use these social media networks anymore and he does not let his children use them.
This is an individual solution. Palihapitiya and his children may go back to their addiction on social media networks later but the point is to diagnose the disease which everyone surrendered to.
Some people resisted social media in a strange way. For example, a news report from September 2014 said a Canadian family kept their house empty of any technological products manufactured after 1986 in order to encourage their children to play outside the house.
We have repeatedly said that it’s not possible to wish ourselves away from this reality surrounding us but we must remind ourselves of the origins of things which stipulate that proper values that govern morals and practices will remain the same, whether social media activists like that or not, even if after a while.
Until then, look for a mountain to shield you from the flood.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy.