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Social Media Terrorist Recruitment
By: Jessica Cherok
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Social media is certainly the place to share what you’re up to, as well as find information about all kinds of things. But social media isn’t the place to try to become a terrorist. That is, unless you want to get caught.

Nicolas Teausant, a 20-year-old college student in California, used social media to ask about terrorist how-to books and confess his wishes to fight for Al Queda.

He used social media sites like Instagram and ask.fm to share his terrorist dreams, leading to his arrest by the FBI. According to the FBI’s affidavit, Teausant was caught trying to cross the U.S./Canadian border to join affiliated members of Al Qaeda with plans to fight in Syria. The affiliates, however, were not members of any terrorist organization, but undercover FBI agents.

The FBI’s criminal complaint against Teausant is full of evidence from his various social media accounts, where he’s posted about terrorism and becoming a terrorist, as well as photos and other media related to terroristic activities.

Some, however, say that Teausant was merely expressing unpopular views, but not actually in any danger of becoming a terrorist until the FBI became involved. It was only after the FBI started its undercover operation with Teausant that he made the decision to cross the border and meet with supposed terrorist operatives.

Teausant’s example may be an extreme case, but it once again proves how much trouble oversharing on social media can land you in.

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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