New York Senator Charles Schumer is urging the government to reward social media informants who help prevent terrorist attacks.
Schumer is proposing a bill that would grant a $25,000 reward for any information generated through social media that helps law enforcement thwart terror plots in the U.S.
The bill would effectively expand the Department of State’s “Rewards for Justice” program — which has already doled out $125 million in rewards for terrorism tipsters — to cover future information generated through social media.
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“There is no doubt about it, ISIS actively uses social media as one of their main weapons,” said Schumer.
“We are in a time when a terrorist a world away can corrupt a disaffected youth — and with just a few posts or tweets, can push them to plan or carry out acts of terror. We need the public’s eyes to alert authorities if they see someone they know writing things they know spell trouble. And we need to offer a minimum reward for this information if it actually does prevent an attack,” he added in a statement on his website.
As relevant examples of growing extremism online, Schumer cited the arrest of an online ISIS recruiter in Rochester, New York, last year, and San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik’s private communications voicing her support for jihad.
Schumer believes that the financial incentives described in his “Preventing Terrorism Through Social Media Act of 2016” legislation will “galvanize the public” to help prevent the spread of extremism through social media. Schumer wants the rewards offered to be between $25,000 and $25 million.
Social media giants such as Twitter and Facebook have increasingly faced the ire of global governments for their lack of action in countering the rise of extremism online. In response, both platforms have committed to strengthening their teams devoted to snuffing out terrorist activity on their respective services.
In December, Twitter announced that it had suspended more than 125,000 accounts “for threatening or promoting terrorist acts, primarily related to ISIS.” Facebook, on the other hand, already relies on its users to report violations to its policies, including content related to or expressing support for terrorist groups and activities.