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Ernst-Backed Bill to Combat Terrorist Use of Social Media Passes Committee

Legislation awaits full Senate consideration

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee passed the Combat Terrorist Use of Social Media Act of 2016 (S. 2517). U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), an original co-sponsor along with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), highlighted the critical importance of the legislation introduced by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI).

“I want to thank both Chairman Johnson and Senator Booker for working with me on this bill. This will require the Obama Administration to fulfill a promise that they made back in 2011 to develop a comprehensive strategy to counter and prevent violent extremism and online radicalization,” Senator Ernst stated. “So while President Obama continues to lack a comprehensive overall strategy to defeat ISIS, this legislation will ensure he must at least present a strategy to address its use of social media to spread terror.”

Click here or on the image below to watch Senator Ernst’s remarks.

HSGAC hearing terror social media

In December 2011, the Obama Administration released a “Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States” which made the following commitment: “[b]ecause of the importance of the digital environment, we will develop a separate, more comprehensive strategy for countering and preventing violent extremist online radicalization and leveraging technology to empower community resilience that considers: (1) the latest assessment of the role of the Internet; (2) the absence of clear national boundaries in online space and the relationship between international and domestic radicalization to violence; (3) relevant legal issues; and (4) the differing authorities and capabilities of departments and agencies.”

The Combat Terrorist Use of Social Media Act requires the president to prepare:

  • A report on terrorists’ and terrorist organizations’ use of social media and an evaluation of current government efforts to combat such use.
  • A comprehensive strategy to counter terrorists’ and terrorist organizations’ use of social media.

The bipartisan legislation is the companion to H.R. 3654, introduced by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) along with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), and passed by the House in December 2015.