Terrorism is the media’s favorite topic for a “Breaking News” story. Earlier, mainstream media was the only source of such information for a common man. With the onset of the internet, terrorist organizations can directly communicate with the general public across the world. A website is a potent tool for both terrorists to achieve their goals and investigating agencies to enforce the law. This article deals with the reasons why terrorist organizations have a website.
One of the most important reasons why terrorist groups have a website is to spread information and promote their organization. The website serves as a direct means of informing the media of their achievements and also put out information relating to their thoughts and position on a certain topic. From issuing death threats to reporting beheadings, terrorists have used websites and their online presence to continuously spread fear.
Websites offer the terrorists an unfiltered way of reaching out to their followers and sympathizers without the intervention or interference of any government authorities or organizations. Censorship of information is more difficult with the internet over the mainstream media. This is why most terrorist outfits will prefer to release information about their ideology and aims, through a platform which they can directly control.
In the recent past, a couple of terrorist organizations have had great success in recruiting cadre and fighters for their group, through website and social media ads. Much like professional organizations, terrorists also run recruitment campaigns online to gather people to work or fight for them. With the deep penetration of technology, sympathizers from all over the world, especially unemployed youth are the easiest target and are often quick to take up such a “prestigious” recruitment offer. Since bulk of today’s youth are connected to the internet and spend most of their free time surfing, they are most likely to come across such propaganda and may fall prey to it.
Terrorists often have a large network of multiple smaller organizations which they are dependent on for their far reach and intricate intelligence. Not only do they post updates from their own sources, but they also promote the ideology of other similar terrorist organizations and their work. Since they all work in closed groups or similar areas, they depend heavily on the support of each other. There is no better way to promote other similar fanatical organizations than to push their achievements and material on the website.
Money is not the only thing a website can help gather. Information intelligence and even regular updates and feedback from local people is something that a terrorist organization is heavily dependent on. Using online forums, secure chat systems and email, they can gather more information and responses from their website. Their website acts as a key point of contact for all their supporters and informants.
Monetary aid is the life blood of terror organisations and their members. Even they need to provide basic amenities and services to their members and that is why they need to raise funds. The simplest way of doing this is through the internet. Their website can easily and discreetly provide information to donors and supporters to deposit the funds. Without a website to aid them in fund raising, it may become difficult if not impossible for a modern terrorist outfit to replenish their coffers.