Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Political Science (B.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Faculty Mentor

Srobana Bhattacharya


The study of terrorism has rapidly changed over the past ten to fifteen years. Technological advances and a change in the objectives of extremist terrorist groups have made this field more difficult to study. This research focuses on how technological advances, particularly social media such as Facebook and Twitter, have made a direct impact on the recruitment processes of extremist terrorist groups such as ISIS on western audiences, particularly on American citizens in combination with other factors such as criminal history and mental illness. It utilizes both qualitative and quantitative measures. First, it examines the number of American citizens recruited by ISIS in total as published by the George Washington University Program on Extremism (2015). Then, this data is broken down into how many citizens were charged with a crime relating to the Islamic State. Finally, ten individuals are randomly selected from the George Washington University Program on Extremism list for an in-depth analysis. Information on each individual is derived from the Department of Justice. I find that the combination of criminal history, mental illness, and social networking is insignificant; however, there is a high correlation between social media networking and successful recruitment to extremist groups. This research shifts the narrative of the recruitment of Middle Eastern citizens to the less accepted idea of “home-grown” terrorism and recruitment of American citizens within their own homes.