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Public Policy and Administration


Christopher Jones


College students are particularly vulnerable to recruitment by terrorist organizations. Social media is the primary tool used by extremist groups to target college students. This research was conducted to examine the extent to which college students are affected by extremist groups on social media. A qualitative research design was implemented to collect data from a diverse group of college students. Participants consisted of five experts in homeland security or law enforcement and 12 individuals who were students or recent graduates in fields related to law enforcement and homeland security. Social learning theory provided the theoretical foundation for this research. Results indicated that college students were targeted by extremists on social media. Results also indicated that enforcement experts failed to grasp the extent to which college students are affected by extremism on social media. Several strategies to address this gap in understanding exist, which represent the opportunity to produce positive social change. Recommendations to enhance national security include additional research on college students and the impact of social media, increased collaboration among security officials at various levels of government, and improved cooperation among social media companies and the federal government. College students play an important role in the effort to combat terrorism. National security is enhanced when college students are involved in the process.

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