The Slippery Slope of Material Support Prosecutions: Social Media Support to Terrorists

Emily Goldberg Knox

Volume 66, Issue 1, 295-330

On September 21, 2013, a group of al-Shabaab gunmen attacked the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, killing nearly seventy civilians. In conjunction with this attack, al-Shabaab’s media wing, HSM Press, launched a public relations campaign on Twitter claiming responsibility for the attack, posting live information and pictures, and taunting Kenyan and global security forces with threats of future action. More recently, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s social media campaign has drawn much international attention. This Note discusses whether the U.S. government could successfully pursue material support to terrorist charges against social media companies for allowing designated foreign terrorist organizations to use their services and, if so, the constitutional and policy implications.

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