NJ congressman says social media companies need to kick out terrorists
A New Jersey congressman says social media has a terrorism problem.
Congress has passed a $740 billion national defense authorization bill that includes a provision to combat foreign terrorist organizations spreading extremist propaganda on social media.
U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J. 5th District, sponsored an amendment that requires the secretary of defense in coordination with the secretary of state to report to Congress on the use of online social media by State Department-designated foreign terrorist organizations that pose a threat to U.S. national security.
Gottheimer said this is necessary because “Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS, Al Qaeda and other foreign terrorist organizations are using Twitter, they use Facebook as a way to communicate and to recruit.”
He said besides Al Qaeda, Hezbollah has been responsible for more American deaths than any other terror group “and yet they are allowed to have Twitter handles and have a presence on Facebook. It’s completely outrageous.”
He noted a report last week fond ISIS is still maintaining a presence on Facebook without being detected, that is generating extremist content and putting our security in harm’s way.
Gottheimer said not enough attention is being paid to this issue, and by forcing the Defense and State departments to report publicly on the online radicalization threats, it will “elevate the issue and I’m hoping will finally force these social media companies to take the aggressive action they’ve committed to in the past.”
He said it is illegal for any American company to do anything to support a foreign terrorist organization and “too many of the social media companies aren’t doing enough to actually keep these organizations off its platform.”
In October, Gottheimer and other lawmaker wrote a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey demanding he remove all content from foreign terror groups and affiliated profiles.
In response, Twitter suspended a lot of content but Gottheimer said “there’s many new ones that have popped up, so they actually have to be vigilant. It can’t just be every time we raise an issue they clean things up and they hope we’re not going to keep a watchful eye.”
Gottheimer serves as a member of the House Financial Services Committee’s National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy Subcommittee.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com