How are online threats escalating?


Online threats are escalating in various forms, driven by different factors:

  1. Domestic Terrorism:

    • Christian Picciolini on the highlights that recent years have shown increasing danger from organized groups and individuals subscribing to violent ideologies. These threats are often transnational and involve various forms of online recruitment, targeting vulnerable individuals through platforms like video games and forums 1.
  2. Social Media Dynamics:

    • Randy Fernando from the notes that anger and moral outrage travel fastest and spread most widely on platforms like Twitter. This dynamic fosters polarization and extremism, driving individuals further into radicalization. Social media's algorithms favor sensationalism, exacerbating divisiveness and societal conflicts 2.
  3. Political Manipulation:

    • Gregg Hurwitz on the discusses how political agendas exploit social media to radicalize and weaponize followers. Techniques from extreme political playbooks, similar to those used by ISIS, are employed to manipulate public opinion and distract from significant societal issues, fostering volatility and unrest 3.

      Rising domestic terrorism

      Christian Picciolini discusses the rise of domestic terrorism and how radicalization is happening online. He explains how people are being recruited through video games and depression forums, and how even children as young as nine are being targeted.

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      318: Christian Picciolini | Breaking Hate Part Two
  4. Psychological Harm:

    • Cal Newport on points out that the constant exposure to partisan debates and harassment on platforms like Twitter causes significant psychological stress and anxiety. For news reporters, in particular, this environment is damaging and makes it challenging to perform their job or maintain mental well-being 4.
  5. Bullying and Harassment:

    • Tony Volk on emphasizes that social media has made tracking bullies difficult. Despite policies, online anonymity facilitates bullying and harassment, making it hard for authorities to intervene effectively. This can lead to severe psychological impacts, especially on adolescents who are more vulnerable to such attacks 5.

These factors collectively illustrate an escalating threat landscape shaped by sophisticated online tools, extremist recruitment, social media dynamics, and psychological impact.