Social Media and Civil Security in Counterterrorism

  • Colonel Wade B. Johnston

In conflict areas, a connection between the people and their government is a key aspect of how greater information sharing through social networking programs can enhance civil security efforts during counterterrorism operations. This paper will assess the viability of using an interactive web based program such as CRIMEWATCH to link security services to the population in order to deter, disrupt and defeat extremists. The following analysis uses security efforts in Nigeria as a case study for analyzing the feasibility, suitability and acceptability of employing this approach across political, infrastructure, social and information sectors. At the local level, web based programs can share relevant information between authorities and the public to be value-added in disrupting extremists efforts, thereby providing the government a strategic advantage. This potentially low cost investment would provide a significant payout at the strategic level in countering violent extremists and provide a method which could be replicated in other affected countries or regions.