Chicago Journal of International Law

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The posting of journalist beheadings online and the arrests of numerous nationals attempting to join terrorist organizations have shown that terrorists are increasingly using social media to spread ideology and recruit members. The popularity of social media around the world provides a huge potential audience for terrorist content. Unfortunately, because of states' inability to cooperate, previous attempts to govern and police the Internet have failed. Any regulation of the Internet or social media also raises collective action problems and baseline definition issues. The U.N. is not in the position to pass a binding treaty or convention because use of social media by terrorists is harder to identify than other regulated areas of internet use. Disagreement among U.N. members on whether internet governance should be implemented by the international community also makes a treaty unlikely. Despite these problems, this Comment suggests that the U.N. still has an important role to play in the regulation of terrorist content in social media. By taking a role as a coordinator between states, the U.N. can create an effective monitoring regime that reduces the costs of internet governance and promotes coordination between states.

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