Social media has integrated itself into our daily lives and, of course, into the lives of businesses. It doesn’t matter if you’re an individual, a business, an agency, a non-profit, or any other organization – you need social media to be accepted online and interact with your customers and clients. Here at CEM, we write about the influence and effectiveness of social media every week. Today, however, there is news that social media has been used in law enforcement once again, except in a relatively high-profile case.
Social Media Posts Vital to Arrests
According to Ben Brumfield this morning at CNN, “Jihadist social media postings helped lead to the arrest and charging of four Los Angeles area men.” It appears that the social media postings, conversations, and online interactions with Federal agents played an important role in building a case against these four alleged terrorists.
“The three exposed their connection to each other and their radical leanings explicitly on Facebook for over a year,” Ben reported. Obviously, the primary use of Facebook is to bring people closer together or to organize them to do good things or learn about new causes. Hundreds of millions of people use social media for that purpose every day. These four men didn’t.
They even went as far as posting “terrorist audio and video files on the Facebook pages” they used, according to the LA Times. Using social media to spew hatred is terribly unfortunate, especially when we know how good they can be for society and business.
Social Media is Completely Pervasive
I don’t want to downplay the importance of arrest of these four men, but I think it’s worthwhile to look at what this means for how far social media has come. Social media is now, in many regards, an extension of real life. The population as a whole has accepted it. Even smaller sections of the population with ill intentions have learned to make use of social media’s offerings.
Why take a moment to discuss this? To me, seeing a headline that says “Social Media Snags 4 U.S. residents allegedly supporting Taliban,” as the CNN article is titled, made me pause for a second. There is a massive interconnectedness we all experience because of Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and other platforms. The fact that terrorists and undercover officials use social media speaks volumes as to how much a part of life it has become.
What other inventions have become pervasive in this way? Cell phones? Television? Computers? The amazing part about social media is that it isn’t even a physical, interactive object. This is fascinating, and I believe that social media will always be a part of the web. Once a concept like this has reached so many people, it’s not going to go away or ever be a waste of money for businesses or your clients, as some naysayers claim. Social media isn’t a fad. Fads don’t reach one billion-plus people of all areas of society and simply fade away.
What do you think about social media helping with the arrest of four alleged terrorists? How do you see social media changing in the future?