The Internet is an instrument that has revolutionized the world and the society since its introduction. Today, over 4 billion people around the world have access to it. While this technology comes with several positive innovations, it can also be used negatively by terrorist organizations to more efficiently spread propaganda messages. More so, the development of social media has fostered new methods of recruitment that allows to reach a broader audience anonymously and outside of the geographical area of operation of a terrorist organization.

The purpose of this research is to analyze the relationship between social media development and changes in terrorist recruitment strategies, discuss the main social media used for terrorist recruitment, and identify major targeted demographics. Further, the research seeks to analyze through case study examination whether the use of social media by terrorist organizations result in more effective recruitment. This is accomplished by comparing recruiting success of ISIS, which heavily relies on social media, with Boko Haram, which does not.

After comparing data available on recruits based on their geographical location, gender and age, and economic status, this study finds that there is not a significant diversity between individuals recruited through social media or those recruited through a different method. This study finds that a significant difference only exists when recruiting individuals with different economic opportunities. While fighters from ISIS are recruited from any class of the society, including those with higher income and are more educated, Boko Haram tends to be more successful among individuals who experience economic hurdles.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Powell, Jonathan


Farcau, Bruce


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Sciences


Political Science

Degree Program

International Relations and Global Studies


Orlando (Main) Campus



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date