A picture of Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Ileana R.
Republican FL 27

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  • Combat Terrorist Use of Social Media Act of 2015

    by Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

    Posted on 2015-12-15

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    ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman and the ranking member, who lead this committee in such an able, expert manner and in a bipartisan way. I thank especially the author of this important resolution, one of our subcommittee chairmen, Ted Poe.

    I rise in strong support of Judge Poe's bill, the Combat Terrorist Use of Social Media Act. I urge all of my colleagues to support this important measure.

    Extremist groups like ISIS are well-known for their extensive use of social media, spreading their hateful ideology, inciting violence, and attempting to recruit susceptible individuals to their hateful and twisted cause.

    When we hear reports and statistics that we have heard today--like ISIS having over 40,000 Twitter accounts or that there are an estimated 200,000 pro-ISIS social media posts per day--clearly, more needs to be done. These jihadists have become more and more tech savvy and are more adept at manipulating the tools of social media. Yet we in the United States lack any comprehensive strategy to counter their perverted ideology via social media.

    As Judge Poe has very ably argued, the administration could be stopping pro-extremists' social media in much the same way that we now stop online child pornography. ISIS and other foreign terrorist organizations do not have free speech rights under American law.

    Now, we were all shocked, as you heard today, that our very own Department of Homeland Security maintained a policy that prevented the screening of visa applicants' social media accounts because we worried about bad public relations; we worried about intrusions into their privacy, even though social media posts, by their very definition, are exactly that, reaching out to the public through social manners, meaning through public ways.

    Every pro-ISIS post or any post by any other foreign terrorist organization that uses Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter, every one that we are able to take down before action is being taken is one less chance for these extremists [[Page H9317]] to recruit and spread their vicious propaganda, and the administration needs to start getting serious about stopping it.

    This bill will require the administration to provide Congress--and, therefore, the American public--with a strategy to fight Islamic extremists' use of social media, as well as require that the administration give us a policy that enhances the collaboration between the Federal Government and social media companies so that we can counter this troubling and dangerous threat.

    I applaud Judge Poe for introducing this bill. I thank our esteemed chairman and ranking member for bringing it to the floor in such a speedy manner.

    I offer my full support, and I urge all of my colleagues to do the same.

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