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By Luke Munn “From where did you receive/research/develop your beliefs? The Internet, of course.” ~ Brenton Tarrant On Friday, March 15th 2019, at 1:40pm, Brenton Tarrant walked into the first of two mosques in central Christchurch and began shooting indiscriminately, leading to the deaths of 50 people. Already there has been speculation about what drove…

By Nancy Jamal In the aftermath of the Christchurch attack, attention has been drawn to the role of mass media in the aftermath of such attacks, including by the UK’s most senior counter-terrorism police officer, Neil Basu. Last week’s Blog post also addressed responsible reporting, as does Virginie Andre’s report Understanding the Impact of Terrorist Event Reporting on Countering…

By Dr Matteo Vergani The Christchurch terror attack conducted by Brenton Tarrant highlights the urgent need to break the destructive synergy between media reporting and terrorist messaging. Tarrant planned a careful media strategy. He exploited social media, like many al-Qaeda and ISIS-inspired terrorists before him, live-streaming his attack and uploading a manifesto in the expectation that…

By Adam G. Klein When a U.S. senator asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “Can you define hate speech?” it was arguably the most important question that social networks face: how to identify extremism inside their communities. Hate crimes in the 21st century follow a familiar pattern in which an online tirade escalates into violent actions.…

By Sara Solmone Free speech is a key aspect of the internet, but it has become increasingly obvious that many online will push that freedom to extremes, leaving website comment sections, Twitter feeds and Facebook groups awash with racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise unpalatable opinions and vitriolic views, and obscene or shocking images or videos.…

By Nathan Shea The first news that militants had taken to the streets of the Islamic City of Marawi on May 23, 2017, came from Facebook. Pictures of masked men carrying assault rifles and waving the black flag of the Islamic State were swirling across social media well before Philippine and international news channels picked…

By Eviane Cheng Leidig A lacuna exists in the study of the radical right whereby researchers focus disproportionately on developments in Europe and North America. Yet, countries such as India, the Philippines, Turkey, and Brazil highlight how the radical right can operate, and indeed flourish, beyond the West. Our failure to incorporate these non-Western case studies…

By Anne Speckhard and Ardian Shajkovci With the collapse of the so-called “Islamic State” in Iraq, and much of Syria, an immediate corresponding and steady decline occurred in ISIS’ strategic communication and online propaganda activities. However, the group’s “virtual Caliphate” is rebounding and still remains very much alive today – it continues to create new content,…

By Kyle Matthews & Nicolai Pogadl In mid-September 2017 the European Union threatened to fine the Big Tech companies if they did not remove terrorist content within one hour of appearing online. The change came because rising tensions are now developing and being played out on social media platforms. Social conflicts that once built up in…

VOX-Pol contributed to the inaugural Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) Civil Society Empowerment Programme (CSEP) campaigns event in Brussels this week. We therefore thought we’d share some insights from a previous RAN event focused on online CVE. [Ed.] Introduction It is an essential part of extremist propaganda and outreach to not only communicate their messages to…