Via Charles Arthur, The Telegraph:
Researchers, who analysed the Facebook activities of a thousand Isil supporters in 96 countries, discovered users with radical Islamist sympathies were routinely introduced to one another through the popular ‘suggested friends’ feature.
Using sophisticated algorithms, Facebook is designed to connect people who share common interests.
The site automatically collects a vast amount of personal information about its users, which is then used to target advertisements and also direct people towards others on the network they might wish to connect with.
But without effective checks on what information is being shared, terrorists are able to exploit the site to contact and communicate with sympathisers and supporters.
The extent to which the ‘suggested friend’ feature is helping Isil members on Facebook is highlighted in a new study, the findings of which will be published later this month in an extensive report by the Counter Extremism Project a non profit that has called on tech companies to do more to remove known extremist and terrorist material online.
Gregory Waters, one of the authors of the report, described how he was bombarded by suggestions for pro-Isil friends, after making contact with one active extremist on the site.
Even more concerning was the response his fellow researcher, Robert Postings, got when he clicked on several non-extremist news pages about an Islamist uprising in the Philippines. Within hours he had been inundated with friend suggestions for dozens of extremists based in that region.