ISIS and the Media: Social Media as a Function and Deterrent of Terror

Open Access
Chuff, Mary Gemma
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Martin Halstuk, Thesis Supervisor
  • Martin Halstuk, Honors Advisor
  • Russell Edgar Eshleman Jr., Faculty Reader
  • ISIS
  • Islamic State
  • social media
  • media
  • journalism
  • counterterrorism
  • counterterrorism policy
Social media is no longer comprised of college students and websites built in college dorm rooms. Rather, social media has evolved into a sophisticated network of platforms that connect the entire globe. Internet connectivity has dramatically increased in recent years, and while there are many benefits to this increased connectivity, there are also consequences, especially in the realm of terrorism studies and foreign policy. Terrorists are increasingly using social media to propagate their violent agendas, rather than relying on typical “legacy” media sources. This paper will examine the relationship between the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria/the Levant (ISIS/ISIL) and the media. This paper will examine whether terror groups continue to need media coverage from legacy sources or if they can achieve their goals through online self-promotion. Finally, this paper will examine the policy implications of the shift in terrorism’s relationship to the media and the implications for the United States’ war on terror.