Using Social Media to Assess Terrorism Threats

In the last three years, terrorism threats have diversified, with previously high-profile groups like AQIM struggling to remain relevant in the face of Islamic State. Other groups have emerged with a track record of targeting business and foreign interests, including in Egypt and Tunisia. They have made particular use of social media to issue threat and claim attacks. This presentation looks at what is driving these trends and how monitoring of social media can aid effective terrorism threat assessments. It will also make forecasts as to how the terrorism threat is likely to evolve in the coming years, with a particular focus on the threat to infrastructure and business.

Business Impacts of the Session

  • For intelligence analysis/consulting firms: Understand current trends in extremist messaging and how to use social media to assess the intent and capability of hostile actors
  • For all business sectors: Understand what indicators to watch for when monitoring social media to aid in conducting threat and risk assessments for business assets and personnel.
  • Using social media as a tool in 2016: Monitoring extremist media will be important for coming year, particularly due to the increase in diversified technological channels through which extremist groups are propagating their message and the different strategies they are employing.

Speaker

Ms Kayla Branson, Associate, The Risk Advisory Group, UK

Kayla Branson is an Associate in the Intelligence & Analysis department of the Risk Advisory Group. She is responsible for political and security coverage of the North Africa and Sahel regions. Since joining the company she has worked on several bespoke cases for clients in different sectors. She has also given several high-level briefings and interviews to the international press regarding developments in the region. She has previously worked at Al Jazeera English and the French Embassy in Washington. Kayla obtained an MSc in Middle East Politics with Distinction at the School of Oriental and African Studies, where she specialised in urban resistance movements. She completed her undergraduate degree at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where she specialised in international politics and contemporary Arab studies.