Twitter Targeted by Military as Terrorist Threat

Dennis Faas's picture

Think a blog site could compromise national security? Well, the military feels that it's certainly a possibility. A recent report on the American Scientists web site by the 304th Military Intelligence Battalion believes Twitter has become a tool for a number of threatening groups.

The American intelligence community clearly isn't tickled with Twitter. The 304th warn that the web site's combination of GPS (Global Positioning System) technologies, digital maps, and other mobile tools could help terrorists plan and execute attacks on U.S. targets.

The military isn't just worried about terrorists, either. According to its report, authorities believe the site "has also become a social activism tool for socialists, human rights groups, communists, vegetarians, anarchists, religious communities, atheists, political enthusiasts, hacktivists and others to communicate with each other and to send messages to broader audiences." (Source:

Whether socialists, atheists, vegetarians, or human rights groups pose the same threat as terrorists is certainly to be debated. However, the military maintains that examples of threatening behaviour can be found within Twitter, which it believes is already home to extremist ideologies and perspectives.

The main threat appears to be a combination of terrorist/socialist/communist (vegetarian?) dialogue and Twitter's many mobile tools, including GPS and maps. Together, these factors manifest themselves in the "hacktivist", a politically-motivated hacker of sorts.

Steven Aftergood of the Federation of the American Scientists can't rule out the military's findings. However, at the same time he wonders if they might be pursuing a legitimate threat. "They need to be informed by a sense of what's realistic and important and what's not," he said. "If we have time to worry about 'Twitter threats' then we're in good shape. I mean, it's important to keep some sense of proportion." (Source:

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