Response should be a minimum of 250 words and include direct questions. You may challenge, support or supplement another student’s answer using the terms, concepts and theories from the required readings. Also, do not be afraid to respectfully disagree where you feel appropriate; as this should be part of your analysis process at this academic level.
The biggest challenges facing homeland security and homeland defense for the foreseeable future are the threats created by information technology. Social media platforms have been weaponized to spread disinformation, polarize the population, and influence elections. Based on statistics the fourth most popular mobile social networking apps in the United States as of October 2018 is Twitter. (Statista, 2019) According to Sociologist sociologist Dhiraj Murthy, “Twitter is a conduit for a global stream of consciousness.” (Murthy, 2013). Everyone can give examples of friends and family members that may not engage in face to face discussions on political topics, but eagerly post extreme view using the perceived protection of their social media persona. “The United States should perpetually continue to shape the social media environment to present enemies with the most challenging environment at the outset. Disaffected people posting on social media should be engaged early and often before they can fall into the cycle of extremism. People that post complaints about U.S. foreign or domestic policy should be engaged with sincere responses and provided with well-produced, fact-based content to either change their mind or inform their arguments.” (Irby III, 2016) The problem with this tactic becomes avoiding infringing on the right to free speech, as well as the government providing “government-approved facts”. Homeland Security again is confronted with the moral dilemma of security vs. civil liberty. Major Irby continues, “with tens of millions of people posting content to various social media platforms and services, the United States should make a concerted effort to monitor the opinions of users based on this information within the confines of the law.” (Irby III, 2016) Which is much more easier said than done.
In 2017, DHS began collecting social media information and search results to include in immigration records starting on October 18, according to a rule published in the Federal Register. (Lee, 2017) Is the next step in the process of monitoring social media to enforce similar policies on the general population? Infringing on civil liberties should always be a last resort. To avoid policing social media content the best course of action should be to leverage cooperation from the social media providers. The first step in this process was land marked with the congressional hearing of Mark Zuckerburg, CEO of Facebook. Zuckerberg indicated that he would be open to several ideas for regulating the tech industry. (Kozlawska and Timmons, 2018) These ambiguous remarks hopefully started a trend in new policies being implemented by social media platforms. The information age has created new challenges that will span at least the next 10 years. What new challenges homeland Security will face in that time will likely bloom from this increasingly powerful technology.
Statista. (2019). Most popular mobile social networking apps in the United States as of October 2018, by monthly users (in millions). Retrieved from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/248074/most-popular-us-social-networking-apps-ranked-by-audience/
Murthy, D. (2013). Twitter: Social Communication in the Twitter Age. DMS – Digital Media and Society. Retrieved from: https://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/viewFile/2258/924
Irby III, J. B. (2016). The Weaponization of Social Media. U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Retrieved from: https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/1020053.pdf
Lee, E. (2017). Homeland Security to monitor social media accounts of immigrants and citizens. Think Progress. Retrieved from: https://thinkprogress.org/dhs-social-media-7e002844c801/
Kozlawska H. and Timmons H. (2018). What we learned from Mark Zuckerberg’s Congressional testimony. Quartz, Lessons. Retrieved from: https://qz.com/1251646/what-we-learned-from-mark-zuckerbergs-congressional-testimony/