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Adding Fuel to the Wi-Fire: What is the Nexus between Social Media, Emerging Technologies and Digital Radicalization?

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Adding Fuel to the Wi-Fire: What is the Nexus between Social Media, Emerging Technologies and Digital Radicalization?

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Adding Fuel to the Wi-Fire: What is the Nexus between Social Media, Emerging Technologies and Digital Radicalization?

There’s little doubt that the technological revolution currently underway, not to mention many of its social media byproducts—Facebook, Google, and Twitter to name just a few—has transformed modern life for the better. But in an age of proliferating data, smart phones and internet literacy, extremist messaging can reach more susceptible and receptive audiences than any time in the past. The next chapter of global jihad will assuredly see more “digital natives” in positions of authority, eager to take advantage of the proliferating modes of global communication.


On July 17, the 21st Century Defense Initiative at Brookings hosted technologist and Wired editor at large Ben Hammersley. One of the world’s most original thinkers on technology trends, Hammersley’s work has crossed war correspondence and technological innovation, reporting from war zones that range from Afghanistan to Mindanao, while also writing on key technology developments, including first coining the term “podcasting.” Hammersly discussed the security implications that new online technologies pose as well as offered his thoughts on the role of government in countering extremism in the digital age.


Senior Fellow Peter W. Singer, director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at Brookings, provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion.

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