Chapter 1

Understanding Social Media's Impact on Global Security

In December 2010, a Facebook status update sparked a chain of events that led to the downfall of three governments. Meanwhile, YouTube videos helped convince and motivate an isolated young man to gun down American servicemen. A few months later, tweets and BlackBerry messages helped rioters loot with precision and spread chaos in one of the most powerful and monitored cities in the world. Meanwhile, gangs in the West used Facebook to glorify their acts of violence and inflame vicious cycles of violence. These events shared common factors—the most apparent being the unique role of social media technology. This chapter illustrates social media's impact on global security, comprising international, national, and local security issues. Specifically, it describes how social media has helped people globally organize revolutions and riots, terrorists recruit and encourage attacks, and gangs glorify and spread violence. It ends with a discussion highlighting the need to appreciate social media's impact on security and sets you on a journey to discovering how you can use social media technologies and crowdsourcing methods to secure your community, country, and planet.

If you already appreciate how social media is impacting global security and do not need to be persuaded, feel free to skip to Chapter 2.

Organizing Revolutions and Riots

To most, social media conjures up thoughts of celebrities tweeting embarrassing ...

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