25 January 2016
Public Program | Aspen Brown Bag Lunch: "Digital Front: How terrorists use social media for their recruitment, why it works and what we can do about it"
On January 25, 2016, the Aspen Institute Germany, together with the Embassy of the United States in Berlin, invited Colonel David B. Des Roches (U.S. Army), Associate Professor at the National Defense University in Washington D.C., to a Brown Bag Lunch. Des Roches discussed, together with Alexander Ritzmann, Senior Fellow at the Brandenburg Institute for Society and Security, in a small group the topic “Digital Front: How terrorists use social media for their recruitment, why it works and what we can do about it”. He outlined in detail the process and motivation leading to the radicalization of individual persons, who ultimately become fighters for terrorist groups. It became apparent that social media are getting increasingly important for recruiting and indoctrinating potential fighters. Ritzmann added to the discussion by speaking about his research on “push-factors” created by terrorists groups in order to, among other things, isolate those already marginalized by society. Ritzman also stressed that over 98 per cent of the target group of potential recruits do not heed the call of terrorist groups. Finally, Des Roches pointed out how such actions by terror groups can be countered and how the threat emanating from foreign fighters can be minimized.