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Social Media and Terrorist Financing

Social Media and Terrorist Financing
7th January 2020 Tom Keatinge
In Reports

This report is from Phase 1 of GIFCT’s research network initiative. Please note that during this time the network was known as the Global Research Network on Terrorism and Technology (GRNTT) and was delivered by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).

The purpose of this paper is not to rehearse discussions around the merits of content removal; rather, it focuses on the narrow issue of terrorist financing enabled by social media and the current, or potential, public–private collaboration for the purposes of counterterrorist financing. As argued in a previous study conducted by the Global Research Network on Terrorism and Technology (GRNTT), propaganda is not the sole way in which terrorists exploit social media networks; other risks include the raising and transfer of funds, exacerbated by the rise of internet crowdfunding campaigns and the growing integration of financial technology into social media platforms via peer-to-peer transactions. The move of terrorist operations online (including for terrorist financing) may however present law enforcement with opportunities – from offering greater intelligence to enabling disruption. However, despite the recognised value of social media intelligence (SOCMINT) in counterterrorism efforts, comparatively little attention has been given to its potential role in counterterrorist financing. This paper explores this gap.


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