European Union Strasbourg, France

Online - Offline Nexus: How The European Union Fights Terrorism On The Internet

Blean Tsige

This essay aims to analyse terrorism as a threat to society. Terrorism is described as "the unlawful use of force or violence against a person or property" (Maikovich, 2005, pg. 2). Terrorism is regularly associated with events such as September 11. 


Terrorism Online & How The EU Tries To Combat These Issues

The danger does not only lie with the reoccurrence of the 9/11 moment. This is because terrorism offers a "sense of purpose and identity" (Maikovich, 2005, pg. 1). These elements of the organisations, mark actual dangers since this attracts more people towards them (Maikovich, 2005). Other factors contribute to the increase in terrorism. For example, platforms that offer unlimited communication (EU, 2022).

These sorts of platforms rose around the 2000s, with Facebook hitting 1 million active users in 2004. And by 2010, Instagram had become a major source of communication as well. So did Twitter just two years before that. This might relate to the problem in a sense. Since Enzensberger (2006), has indicated at the end of his article that the world is stuck in a vicious cycle. "A global society that constantly produces new losers", implying that there is a constant increase in terrorism (Ensensberger, 2006). For the world to create more terrorists, social media platforms seem to be offering a comfortable place for the loser. 


Figure 1. Image does not depict real events.

The European Council has also acknowledged this problem. Since 7th June 2022, they have come up with new rules for the online world. These rules are meant to address "the dissemination of terrorist content online" (EU, 2022). The EU has come to this verdict, due to their findings. These entailed that digital technologies have made communications simpler for terrorists (EU, 2022). Terrorists would use specific social media platforms and the dark web to spread their messages.

The messages were "to radicalise, recruit, and incite to violence" (EU, 2022). As well as that, the platforms made it easier to "facilitate the carrying out of terrorist attacks" (EU, 2022). The solution that came into place was designed for EU countries to appoint national authorities. These in turn found and issued terrorist content that had to be taken out. The removal is issued to the digital platforms. If this is not done accordingly, the platforms are forced to pay a fine. 

To conclude, it seems as if there is some possibility of stopping the creation of the radical loser substantially. However, there might be a problem, if social media platforms are more focused on creating profit through interactions. These big social media companies maybe will not mind paying a fine, as long as they have enough interaction through the post. Even if that means letting terrorist content on the platform.  Hopefully, everyone decides that profit is less important than safety in this case. 




European Council, EU. (2022, June 17). Infographic- Addressing the dissemination of terrorist content online. European Union.

Enzensberger, H. M. (2006, December 20).  DER SPIEGEL, Hamburg, Germany.

Maikovich, A.K. (2005). A new understanding of Terrorism Using Cofnitive Dissonance Principles. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour.