Several days after the Friday attack at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, the public is still seeking answers about the incident. As with recent terror attacks from New Zealand to Sri Lanka, social media giants are in the spotlight. This is, in part, because social media tends to be the go-to place for terrorists to post content, such as manifestos or videos of crimes. It is also where terrorists build up a digital footprint over the years, shedding light on their radicalization process.
However, in the terrorist case in Florida, even as the FBI said it was presuming the attack was an act of terror, social media giants were working to wipe out the history of the attacker, leaving the public and investigators potentially in the dark about motivation, radicalization, friend networks or supporters the perpetrator may have had.