Blog

By Linda Schlegel & Till Baaken In recent years, radicalisation, its causes and facilitating conditions as well as possible counter-strategies have been widely discussed within the academic community, among practitioners, and by politicians. Today, there are a variety of radicalisation models available in order to facilitate our understanding of this phenomenon and the empirical evidence is progressively…

By Laura Jakli and Paul Gill This blog post summarises the preliminary results of a VOX-Pol supported study that estimates the effects of social media echo chambers on political polarisation. Social Media and Political Polarisation Countless news articles and studies argue that social media exacerbates political polarisation and distorts the political news landscape. The general argument put…

By Jade Hutchinson The ‘Right’ Kind of Dogma Radical-right groups harness online platforms to disseminate dogmas against the ‘Other’. In response to an influx of foreign migrants, the concatenation of Islamist terrorism and record levels of distrust in government institutions, the radical-right is invigorated by an aggressive anti-‘Other’ sentiment. As the source of social anxiety and…

By Sam Jackson For years, researchers studying online political extremism have used computational tools to collect large amounts of data from social media, most often from Twitter. Two main logics guide these data collections: they can be built around users (e.g., collecting all tweets sent by given accounts) or they can be built around vocabulary (e.g.,…

By Peter King When the so-called Islamic State ramped up its media operation in the summer of 2014 to promote its territorial advances across Iraq and Syria, terrorism researchers who had been in the business for a decade or more were forced to take a step back and reconsider the effect the propaganda was having…

By Mike Edwards My belief in the value of collaboration between police and academics stems from a policing conference on domestic violence, stalking and sexual violence that I attended as a young police officer. Criminal behavioural analyst Laura Richards delivered the keynote speech. This sparked a personal interest in human behavioural analysis and specialist criminal…

By Carol Winkler One of the attendees at the recent Ethics of Terrorism Research workshop held at Swansea University poignantly observed, “ethics is method, method is ethics.” This rich concept has various implications for how terrorism researchers should think about their work. To start such a conversation, I will revisit Simon Cottee and Jack Cunliffe’s…

By Stefan Theil Germany’s infamous network enforcement law – which seeks to more heavily regulate social media – came into force at the start of 2018 to almost unanimous criticism. That is unfortunate, because I believe the law is a risk worth taking and can serve as a good starting point for governments considering tougher regulations…

By William Allchorn The 9th of June saw one of the most prominent far-right mobilisations of the year. Assembling in Trafalgar Square, hundreds of demonstrators turned out to protest the arrest and imprisonment of former English Defence League (EDL) leader, Tommy Robinson (real name Stephen Christopher Yaxley Lennon), for contempt of court after he broadcast live…

By Nick Feamster This post contains reflections from a Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society workshop on the use of artificial intelligence in governing communication online that took place earlier this year [Ed.] Context In the United States and Europe, many platforms that host user content, such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, have enjoyed safe harbor protections for the…