Sunday, March 20, 2022

Daniel Byman's "Spreading Hate"

Daniel Byman is a professor at Georgetown University and a senior fellow at Brookings. He is a widely published and nationally recognized expert on terrorism. Byman was a US government analyst and a staff member on the 9/11 Commission, among other positions. His most books include A High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism; Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and the Global Jihadist Movement, and Road Warriors: Foreign Fighters in the Armies of Jihad.

Byman applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Spreading Hate: The Global Rise of White Supremacist Terrorism, and reported the following:
From page 99:
Social media platforms are now counterterrorism battlegrounds. Killers like Tarrant become more radicalized there and seek to radicalize others through their words and achievements. At the same time, most social media companies are stepping up their efforts to fight white supremacy, and government officials often detect, and stop, potential terrorists with information gleaned from social media.
The Test highlights one important argument from my book: that social media are changing the very nature of terrorism and counterterrorism, especially for white supremacists. Although my book also examines how white supremacist views and violence evolved before the information age, social media are an important driver of one of my most important themes: the greater globalization of white supremacy today. Indeed, my book opens with the story of Brenton Tarrant, the white supremacist who shot and killed 51 Muslims at mosques in New Zealand and did so while livestreaming it on Facebook. Drawing on his livestream and the associated publicity, white supremacists around the world applauded Tarrant, and some in the United States and Europe emulated him. In addition to Facebook, white supremacists have exploited almost every form of social media, ranging from household names like Twitter and YouTube to more specialized platforms like Gab and 8kun, which are extremist cesspools. However, social media are a mixed blessing for terrorists, as the quote above suggests. Many users casually reveal their plans, not recognizing that concerned civil society and government officials, as well as like-minded extremists, may be following them online. Social media is also a great way to learn about the views and networks of various organizations. Finally, just as social media has fragmented mainstream politics, so too has it divided extremists, leading to a bewildering range of combinations of extreme beliefs that are often very scary but also dilute the movement as a whole, making it far less dangerous.
Learn more about Spreading Hate at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 69 Test: The Five Front War.

The Page 99 Test: A High Price.

--Marshal Zeringue