The emerging role of social media in the recruitment of foreign fighters

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Without recruitment terrorism can not prevail, survive and develop. Recruitment provides the killers, the suicide bombers, the kidnappers, the executioners, the engineers, the soldiers and the armies of future terrorism. The internet has become a useful instrument for modern terrorists’ recruitment and especially of foreign fighters. Online platforms and particularly the new social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) combine several advantages for the recruiters. The global reach of the Net allows groups to publicise events to more people; and by increasing the possibilities for interactive communication, new opportunities for assisting groups and individuals are offered, along with more chances for contacting them directly. Terrorist recruiters may use interactive online platforms to roam online communities, looking for more ‘promising’ and receptive individuals, using sophisticated profiling procedures. Online recruitment of foreign fighters by terrorist organisations such as the Islamic State (IS) is analysed here as an example of an online multichannel recruitment venue.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationForeign Fighters under International Law and Beyond
EditorsA. de Guttry, F. Capone, C. Paulussen
PublisherT.M.C. Asser Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9789462650992
ISBN (Print)9789462650985
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© T.M.C. ASSER PRESS and the authors 2016.


  • Counter-terrorism
  • Islamic state (IS)
  • Online radicalisation
  • Social media
  • Terrorist recruitment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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