Terrorist organizations around the world have successfully exploited the media revolution of the past decade. They use state-of-the-art communications technologies to market terrorism to large target audiences around the world, disseminate their threats, promote their activities and recruit sympathizers and supporters. By marketing terrorism, they try to shape public opinion and influence the global political and media agenda.
One of the tools used extensively for marketing terrorism is the Internet. The Internet is an ideal means for marketing terrorism: it is decentralized, it cannot be controlled or restricted, it is not censored, and all those who wish to do so have access to it. From the perspective of terrorist organizations, their special structure makes communication via the Internet even more important and useful. The loose and fluid network of squads, units and sub-groups, which is characteristic of modern terrorist organizations, makes the Internet an ideal and essential tool for marketing terrorism and for communication between and within terrorist groups.
The use of the Internet for marketing terrorism, especially social networks, enables organizations to market terrorism and its messages without censorship restrictions, using the freedom of expression law, bypassing geographical barriers and evading the difficulties posed by various governments. Marketing terrorism through the Internet makes it possible to achieve several goals, including: to provide an explanation and justification for terrorist acts; to collect and transmit information; to empower the organization’s capabilities and shape its image; to recruit and train operatives and more.
Global jihad organizations, Hezbollah, and Hamas are salient examples of terrorist organizations that have had the wisdom to take advantage of the media revolution for terrorism marketing purposes. These organizations make extensive use of the media for terrorism marketing purposes in addition to terrorist activity on the ground.