The group used social media, specifically a Facebook page “Islam en Español” (Islam in Spanish), which had over 32,000 followers, to glorify the Islamic State and spread the message of the militant group that operates out of Syria and Iraq, the ministry said.
Out of 32,000 people on that page, they found the five that were operating together as a cell. Why? How? Grugq breaks it down:
The fundamental problem here is that a sympathetic individual who becomes “radicalized” has to learn security procedures to protect themselves against security forces. This is a bootstrapping problem, because they must go from a state of ignorance and curiosity, to knowledgeable without attracting attention.
Using Facebook as a recruiting ground is not the way to avoid attracting attention…ISIS in Europe does not have the luxury of training people, since they have such a weak presence. They are heavily invested in online communities as recruiting groups, which means they’re fishing in a pool of already identified recruits.
Now re-read that, and substitute “III% group” or “Patriot group” or whatever else for “ISIS” and maybe you’ll see the problem. Like it or not, the “patriot’ community is heavily invested where? Online. Thousands and thousands of groups. The same names showing up in every group. What does that say? It highlights the recruiting pool.
If you expect to be operating with any kind of secrecy, then you should not be recruiting on Facebook. Why? Because you’re recruiting—by default—from a pool of people who ALREADY are known to the powers that be for their political activities. Your baseline group pool is contaminated in terms of security.
Now this is not to say you can’t recruit people who have Facebook accounts. You should, however, think long and hard about two things.
- What exactly are you recruiting for? If you’re just looking for people who will show up to your FTXs, click like on your stuff, and be general folks you aren’t doing anything major with or sharing privileged information with, then sure. Go ahead and post your roll calls and recruiting drives. If you’re planning actual resistance actions, creating a supply train, looking for people to run a safe house, etc., you’re going to want to look outside people who have already announced their presence on Facebook as being involved in anti-tyranny activities.
- What exactly are your recruits doing on Facebook? Are they announcing their wish to “start shooting”? Are they penning threatening letters or otherwise engaged in high profile activities? They probably already have attention. By recruiting from Facebook, you’re literally inviting (and possibly even guaranteeing) compromise of your group. It could be argued that even if someone is not an informant, merely having them as part of your group, communicating/working with them could bring your group attention you’re trying desperately to avoid.
You’ll see a lot of groups say that they don’t care if the government sees what they’re doing. The arrogance and
Grugq plainly states that “All of this means that, if you join ISIS from a Facebook group, you’re gonna get arrested.” Think through that (including how many arrests this year included information from Facebook pages and groups for those cases), substitute your own stuff there, and act accordingly.