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Any form of media, indeed any form of communication, carries the potential for both progress and harm. This is obvious, and hindsight even provides for some comedy at the expense of those who decried innovation as decay, such as a 15th century monk who thought the printing press would bring about moral decay. However, such worries did not prove to be entirely groundless, with Mein Kampf becoming a paradoxical instrument for a hateful ideology that espoused the destruction of books and sparked the most violent conflict in human history. Despite the destruction that book brought, there are few who would say the printing press itself is an instrument of evil, and history has decided against not only those who decry innovation, but also those who use it for violence. Such is the current predicament of social media in the Middle East, today’s battleground between forces who use the medium for the betterment of their societies and those who use it to wage wars. As Islamic extremism has found social media its most effective tool to recruit foreign fighters and to deliver its message across the globe, the value of this ever-growing form of communication has been highly controversial even in countries whose survival depends on the right to freedom of expression. The most lamentable example of social media’s potential for destruction is the Islamic State’s sophisticated and effective twitter, Facebook, and YouTube network. The group is systematically building on Al Qaeda’s comparatively rudimentary use of Internet, which Al Qaeda used to spread propaganda in its early stages. The fast-paced world of social media is now the Islamic States’ public channel of its atrocious crimes. In one instance, the terrorists’ assault on Mosul, Iraq was precipitated by a twitter campaign using the hashtag #AllEyesOnISIS, followed by a disturbing outpour of support from around the world. So monumental was the amount of attention created by the hashtag that the Iraqi army withdrew from the specter of a mere 2,000 militants. Furthermore, as a direct result of the ongoing civil unrests in Syria and Iraq, human traffickers have seized the opportunity to use Facebook and YouTube as advertising platforms to lure refugees into costly and dangerous voyages to Europe. In the domestic arena, social media also continues to draw criticism. According to the 2015 Arab Social Media Influencers Report, “[o]verall, social media is seen to be incompatible with Arab culture: pushing social boundaries; it is alien to the Arab culture to meet new people/strangers, virtual dating, etc.” Despite its downfalls, social media has its advantages in the region. The Islamic States’ reliance on using the medium may prove to be its downfall, as U.S. intelligence continues to track posts in order to identify and target militants. For the victims of the conflicts, social media is a powerful tool to share their stories with the rest of world. Often, it is their only venue to seek justice and to present their firsthand evidence of brutality and oppression. For much of the world, the unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the region was a routine scene until shocking images of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy surfaced social media. Social media has also given the youth in the region a unique opportunity to inform themselves and be critical despite widespread censorship. According to Northwestern University in Qatar, women in Middle Eastern countries are using the medium to socialize, thereby overcoming the societal barriers that prevent them from appearing in public. Additionally, the summit that produced the Arab Social Media Influencers report also gave awards to individuals who used social media to promote worthy causes. One such person was 24-year-old blogger Meera Al Daheri, who created a blog about her younger brother diagnosed with Downs’s Syndrome in order to encourage others to welcome and equally treat children like her brother in the society. Notably, even the report critical of social media’s effect on Arab society recognizes the medium’s largely beneficial impact on businesses, permitting them to engage the market more and offer more goods to those who need them. Lastly, for better or worse, social media creates awareness of the events in the region. This can manifest itself in traditional sectarian tensions of course, as when Saudis expressed their support on twitter for the Kingdom’s recent execution of 47 individuals.