Search

US SCHOOLS EXPERIENCE SWATTING INCIDENTS AND TURKEY PASSES DISINFORMATION LAW

October 13-19, 2022 | Issue 6 - Counter Threat Strategic Communications (CTSC)

Neima Izadi, Adam Hopkinson, CTSC Team

Christie Hui, Editor; Demetrios Giannakaris, Senior Editor



Active Shooter Training Exercise[1]


Date: October 13, 2022

Location: USA

Parties involved: students; students’ families; schools; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); local and regional law enforcement; Twitter; TikTok

The event: Schools in the US experienced swatting incidents involving false reports to emergency services intended to deceive law enforcement and trigger a large immediate response. Students and their families reported these events on Twitter and TikTok, fearing that such reports were credible. However, these reports have been later revealed as hoaxes after further investigations.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Responding to false emergency calls will very likely strain first responder resources and inhibit emergency services from responding to genuine calls. They will unlikely know whether or not a threat is a hoax until they investigate the scene. There is a roughly even chance that law enforcement will be reluctant to prioritize specific calls due to the swatting trend, which would likely cause harm if real threats are delayed.

  • Swatting causes public fear and panic, almost certainly forcing schools to halt their everyday activities and prepare for a potential active shooter incident or another emergency. Teachers, students, and staff will likely experience trauma when preparing for such events, and parents will likely experience traumatic emotions as news of a potential emergency spreads. Such traumas will likely increase absenteeism in schools and contribute to mental illnesses, which will likely require schools to increase their funding of mental health counseling and school security. While increased safety and security funding is critical, schools with a heavy security presence will likely unintentionally increase the trauma of students, teachers, and staff.

  • The widespread attention on mass shootings in the US very likely attracts attention-seeking individuals and encourages them to report fake shootings to gain notoriety. Swatting in schools is likely carried out by students who have grievances with school administrators, teachers, or other students. News and social media sensationalizing these individuals likely contribute to increased swatting by inspiring copycats to provoke a more significant law enforcement response.

Date: October 13, 2022

Location: Turkey

Parties involved: Turkish parliament; journalists; social media users; media rights activists; oppositional members of parliament (MPs); AK Party (AKP); Nationalist Movement Party (MHP); Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan; Anarchist groups

The event: On October 13, 2022, the Turkish parliament accepted a law proposed by President Erdogan that may see journalists and social media users jailed for spreading disinformation. If the law passes, the suspect could face imprisonment for one to three years. The AKP and MHP held a majority of the votes supporting the bill, despite concerns from oppositional MPs, European countries, and media rights activists.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The lack of a clear definition of disinformation in the new law will likely create confusion about what content is considered false or misleading information. Journalists and social media users will likely be reluctant to share political information, reducing the number of media publishings that might oppose the Turkish parliament’s policies. The Turkish government will likely exploit the new laws to spread their political objectives throughout the nation.

  • The perception that the Turkish government is reducing the public’s freedom of speech will likely lead to decreasing support for the Turkish government’s parties. This situation almost certainly provides opportunities for right-wing parties and anarchist groups to exploit the backlash to current policies and increase their recruitment efforts. The increased support for political opposition will likely lead to increased radicalization throughout Turkey and the possibility of violent attacks against those who support the AKP.

  • As these restrictions will be imposed on journalists, public frustrations will almost certainly increase due to involuntary media bias in favor of the AKP and MHP. As a result, government transparency about future political actions will almost certainly decrease. There will likely be public demonstrations against the law, almost certainly leading to violence and the destruction of property within major cities in Turkey, such as Izmir, Istanbul, and Ankara.

 

The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)


[1]Training Exercise: Active Shooter” by Steven L. Shepard licensed under Public Domain

[2] Students, Parents React to 'Grueling' Spate of School Shooting Hoaxes, Newsweek, October 2022, https://www.newsweek.com/students-parents-react-grueling-spate-school-shooting-hoaxes-1751689

[3] Turkey’s parliament adopts media law jailing those spreading ‘disinformation’, Reuters, October 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/law-that-would-jail-those-spreading-disinformation-progresses-turkey-2022-10-13/

100 views