Social media websites aid terrorism, claims GCHQ chief

Social Media

Robert Hannigan has said that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter help terrorists.

The new head of the Government Communications Headquarters has called on the technology giants behind some of the world's most popular social media websites to do more to help prevent terrorists using their services.

Robert Hannigan only started in his new role as head of the GCHQ today, but has already laid out his thoughts on terrorists using the internet. He states that the likes of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have becoming a key tool for extremists to promote terrorism and evade capture using encryptions.

The Financial Times have quoted him as saying: "I understand why they [US technology companies] have an uneasy relationship with governments. They aspire to be neutral conduits of data and to sit outside or above politics.

"But increasingly their services not only host the material of violent extremism or child exploitation, but are the routes for the facilitation of crime and terrorism.

"However much they [tech companies] may dislike it, they have become the command and control networks of choice for terrorists and criminals, who find their services as transformational as the rest of us."

Hannigan also added that social media giants should be working closer with intelligence agencies in order to prevent terrorists exploiting the services. 

In the past the al-Qaeda terrorist group used the internet extensively, and now Islamic State militants are doing the same in an even more extreme and oppressive way. Isil have used social media to distribute their message and have published grotesque videos of innocents being murdered.

Hannigan says that unless tech companies start being more co-operative, then new laws might have to be introduced to help intelligence agencies track terrorists.