Library

Welcome to VOX-Pol’s Online Library, a research and teaching resource, which collects in one place a large volume of publications related to various aspects of violent online political extremism.

Our searchable database contains material in a variety of different formats including downloadable PDFs, videos, and audio files comprising e-books, book chapters, journal articles, research reports, policy documents and reports, and theses.

All open access material collected in the Library is easy to download. Where the publications are only accessible through subscription, the Library will take you to the publisher’s page from where you can access the material.

We will continue to add more material as it becomes available with the aim of making it the most comprehensive online Library in this field.

If you have any material you think belongs in the Library—whether your own or another authors—please contact us at onlinelibrary@voxpol.eu and we will consider adding it to the Library. It is also our aim to make the Library a truly inclusive multilingual facility and we thus welcome contributions in all languages.

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TitleYearAuthorTypeLinks
The Use of Counter Narratives to Combat Violent Extremism Online
2023 Rees, J. and Montasari, R. Chapter
Due to recent rises in extremism across the globe (Dean et al. in J Polic Intell Count Terror 11:121–142, 2016; Le Roux in Responding to the rise in violent extremism in the Sahel. Africa Center For Strategic Studies, 2019, p. 26) and (Jones in Int Secur 32:7–40, 2008), governments and law enforcement organisations, such as the police, have looked to new strategies to counter violent extremism (Russell and Theodosiou in Counter-extremism: a decade on from 7/7. Quilliam Foundation, 2015). Specifically, there has been an expanse of the field now widely known as Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). CVE is a highly contested area; however, upon conducting a literature review, Inserra (Revisiting efforts to counter violent extremism: leadership needed. The Heritage Foundation, 2015, p. 2) helpfully reduced the term CVE down to descriptions of interventions intended to “stop individuals from radicalizing”. LaFree and Freilich (Annu Rev Criminol 2:383–404, 2019) distinguish counter-terrorism from CVE, they describe counter-terrorism as military responses (‘hard’) as opposed to non-military responses (‘soft’), referred to as countering violent extremism strategies. This chapter contends that, although counter narratives tend to lack academic standing, there does appear to be a widespread acceptance that narratives influence individuals’ beliefs. Therefore, in the absence of other more effective methods of CVE online, it is argued that counter-narratives (CN) should be used in informed ways by organisations such as the police (Monaghan in Crime Media Cult 18(1):21–39, 2020). This chapter will compare academic understandings of narrative and communication alongside examples of counter narratives issued against them. It will then assess the impact of such strategies and potential alternatives for CN.
Exploring the Extent to Which Extremism and Terrorism Have Changed Since the Advent of the Internet
2023 Locaj, K. Chapter
This review will examine the academic literature over which role the internet has in the evolution of extremism and terrorism since its advent. It will compare two different approaches. The first claims that the internet is a major factor that facilitates ideas and narratives, which can lead to the rise of extremism and terrorism. The second, which in its turn contradicts this approach, argues that prior the advent of the internet extremists and terrorists where more successful into achieving their goals. For that reason, the review will be split into 3 sections. The first section will be examining some needed key definitions of what constitutes terrorism and extremism. Afterwards the essay will shift its approach towards the main debate of whether the internet has a causal link with extremism and terrorism or not. Therefore Sect. 2 brings forth the ways, in which the internet has helped terrorism to advance its goals. Moving on to the third section, this piece of work will discuss the approach in which the internet does not assist extremist narratives but, in the contrary helps the advancement of better research around it and its prevention. Lastly, the review will sum up over the literature that has been discussed and conclude that there is always space for future research.
The Role of the Internet in Radicalisation to Violent Extremism
2023 Bamsey, O. and Montasari, R. Chapter
This chapter critically examines the role that the Internet and the Internet of Things (IoT) play in violent extremism. The chapter specifically focuses on arguments surrounding radicalisation as a pathway to terrorism and how individuals become radicalised due to different radicalisation processes and theories. Based on this critical analysis, the chapter argues that the Internet plays a key role in radicalisation to violent extremism due to several approaches. Issues highlighted in this chapter mainly focusses on the struggles of social media (SM) moderation and regulations. Furthermore, the chapter discusses how the IoT can aid SM regulation to reduce online radicalisation to violent extremism through artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology. It will be argued how AI and ML could be deployed to reduce terrorist content online, making social media platforms (SMPs) a safer cyber space for individuals to operate within.
Communities of Hateful Practice: The collective learning of accelerationist right-wing extremists, with a case study of the Halle synagogue attack
2022 Fürstenberg, M. Report
In the past, far-right aggression predominantly focused on national settings and street terror against minorities; today, however, it is increasingly embedded in global networks and acts within a strategic framework aimed at revolution, targeting the liberal order as such. Ideologically combining antisemitism, racism, and anti-feminism/anti-LGBTQI, adherents of this movement see modern societies as degenerate and weak, with the only solution being a violent collapse that they attempt to accelerate with their actions. The terrorist who attacked the synagogue and a kebab shop in Halle, Germany, in October 2019 clearly identified with this transnational community and situated his act as a continuation of a series of attacks inspired by white supremacy in the past decade. The common term ‘lone wolf’ for these kinds of terrorists is in that sense a misnomer, as they are embedded in digital ‘wolf packs’.

Although this movement is highly decentralized and heterogeneous, there are interactive processes that connect and shape the online milieu of extremists into more than the sum of its parts, forming a structure which facilitates a certain degree of cohesion, strategic agency, and learning. This paper uses the model of collective learning outside formal organizations to analyze how the revolutionary accelerationist right as a community of practice engages in generating collective identities and knowledge that are used in the service of their acts of death and destruction.
The Buffalo Attack: Implications for Online Safety
2022 Ofcom Report
On 14 May 2022, an attack was carried out in Buffalo, New York, which resulted in the death of ten individuals and the wounding of three others. The attack was livestreamed online and versions of the footage were disseminated on multiple online services, potentially exposing UK users to content related to terrorism.

As the regulator of UK-established video-sharing platforms (VSPs) and the prospective UK online safety regulator, we sought to learn from the tragic event by reviewing industry responses to the livestreamed attack and cross-industry collaboration to prevent dissemination of associated content.
The virtual "Caliphate" strikes back? Mapping the Islamic State's information ecosystem on the surface web
2022 Lakomy, M. Article
This study maps the surface web information ecosystem exploited by the Islamic State (IS) and its followers between December 2020 and June 2021. Open-source intelligence investigation allowed a massive online presence of Daesh, manifested by hundreds of communication channels, to be detected. Its propaganda dissemination was founded mainly on one “central” Arabic domain, linked to a constellation of auxiliary standalone websites, blogs, encrypted messaging apps, as well as file-sharing and streaming services. Aside from it, the Islamic State utilised other surface web environments, including numerous Internet Archive profiles and a network of communication channels established by Afaaq Electronic Foundation. This study also shows that URLs banned by law enforcement in 2020 and 2021 were usually quickly restored by the IS’s media offices.
Webbpoliser, gaming och kontranarrativ
2022 Ahlerup, L. and Ranstorp, M.
Studien påvisar bland annat att det finns oändliga möjligheter att använda sig av den digitala arenan i förhållande till förebyggande arbete, samt att integreringen av den digitala arenan är ytterst centralt för att på ett effektivt sätt kunna förebygga och motverka just extremism och våldsbejakande extremism. Detta då en stor del av extremistiska aktörers aktiviteter i dagsläget sker just online, samt då det är tydligt att online- och offlinedimensionen inte kan separeras funktionellt. Det konstateras dock att flera av de befintliga initiativ som studeras främst tenderar att existera som isolerade företeelser, snarare än att exempelvis utgöra en del av en omfattande nationell handlingsplan samt strategi i relation till det förebyggande arbetet mot extremism och våldsbejakande extremism. Trots att det alltså existerar ett flertal intressanta projekt och initiativ med potential att eventuellt kunna integreras och användas i större utsträckning är det i dagsläget både spretigt och fragmenterat – både nationellt och internationellt.
Online Activities and Extremist Attitudes in Adolescence: An Empirical Analysis with a Gender Differentiation
2022 Goede, L.R., Schröder, C.P., Lehmann, L. and Bliesener, T. Article
Radicalization research is dedicated to analyzing factors related to radicalization processes, which in turn can lead to extremism. One factor is frequently discussed: the role of the Internet. This paper examines the relationship between active and passive online activities, including consumption, networking, and posting, and extremist attitudes in the field of Islamism and right-wing extremism among adolescents. Data from a school survey (N = 6,715) show that right-wing attitudes are particularly correlated with consumption of political websites, though this effect is weaker among females. However, posting shows only a small effect and networking shows no effect at all. Islamist attitudes, on the other hand, are related to the extent to which one consumes violent Islamist videos, meets other Muslims online, and posts Islamic content.

Die Radikalisierungsforschung untersucht Faktoren und Bedingungen von Prozessen, die hin zu Extremismus führen können. Ein häufig genannter Faktor ist das Internet. Diese Arbeit untersucht den Zusammenhang zwischen verschiedenen passiven und aktiven Internetaktivitäten, wie das Konsumieren, Vernetzen und Posten mit extremistischen Einstellungen im Bereich Islamismus und Rechtsextremismus bei Jugendlichen. Daten einer Schüler*innenbefragung (N = 6,715) zeigen, dass rechtsextreme Einstellungen insbesondere bei Jungen mit dem Konsum politischer Websites einhergehen, während Posting nur geringe und das Netzwerken keine Zusammenhänge mit rechtsextremen Einstellungen zeigen. Bei islamistischen Einstellungen zeigen sich dagegen Zusammenhänge mit dem Konsum von islamistischen Gewaltvideos, dem Vernetzen mit anderen Muslim*innen und dem Posten islamischer Inhalte.
“Media is half of Jihad”- An interview with prominent pro Al-Qaeda translation arm- Islamic Translation Centre (ITC)
2022 Thakkar, M. Report
The Islamic State (IS) has been successfully diversifying its appeal and outreach as its aligned media groups like the Islamic State in Khorasan province’s official Al Azaim media, pro-IS Halummu and I’lam foundation prioritised translation efforts as a part of IS global media communication strategy. Al-Qaeda (AQ) on the other hand has faltered in its attempt to directly reach out to different ethnic communities from across the globe owing to the AQ’s official or aligned propaganda outlets not devoting the majority of their energies to the translation front.

This changed when the Islamic Translation Centre (ITC) emerged last year in June 2021 as AQ’s young media translation unit for buttressing AQ’s messaging propaganda to a global audience. Within the pro-AQ media ecosystem, it is the sole multifaceted, multi-language archival website that publishes translations of AQ and its affiliates’ official media content including attack claims, speeches of existing and deceased AQ leaders –Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahiri – video releases, and books into 29 different languages. These include Pashto, Arabic, Farsi, Indonesien, Ruáingga, Hindi, Malayalam, Assamese, French, German, Swedish, Albanian, Swahili, Portuguese, Spanish, etc.
Deadly Disinformation: Viral Conspiracy Theories as a Radicalization Mechanism
2022 Moskalenko, S. and Romanova, E. Article
Viral online disinformation is misleading content that is generated to manipulate public opinion and to circulate rapidly in the digital space. Although viral disinformation has become an instrument for radicalization, the specific psychological mechanisms by which disinformation can be weaponized––wielded as mobilizing and radicalizing political tools––are not yet well-understood.

In this paper, we establish the potential of concerted disinformation efforts to impact mass radicalization and political violence, first through historical precedents of deadly disinformation campaigns, then in modern-day examples from the USA and Russia. Comparing and contrasting political effects of two recent disinformation campaigns, QAnon’s #SaveTheChildren campaign in the USA, and anti-LGBTQ disinformation campaign in Russia, this paper highlights the significance of LGBTQ contagion threat—a notion that people can be “turned” into LGBTQ through deliberate outside influence. The psychological and political consequences of such messaging, its main target audience, and vulnerability factors rendering individuals especially susceptible to its radicalizing effects are discussed.
The role of social media towards fomenting radicalization among youth in Bangladesh
2022 Talukder, P. and Tanvir, S. Article
The purpose of the study is to identify the role of social media in spreading radicalization among Bangladeshi youth and the factors behind them. The concepts of radicalization and violent extremism have become increasingly prevalent in global politics and development programming during the last few decades and the youths are getting involved through social media from the contents published by the extremist groups. The authors have used qualitative method to understand and scrutinize the findings of the study. In these processes, they have chosen secondary data analysis from articles, journals, books, newspaper etc. in order to collect and analyze data. Finally, they have tried to find out the factors behind the involvement of youths in radicalization and extremist acts through social media, the preventive measures taken by the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) and further possible initiative to boost up the preventive techniques to safeguard the youths. In the consequences, the authors assumed that lack of religious knowledge, adventurous nature, economic factors, cultural factors and identity crisis could be the reasons behind the vulnerability of youths involving in radicalization in Bangladesh.
The Role of Translation in ISIS Propaganda: International Online Radicalization Methods and Its Effect on Extremism in Indonesia
2022 Sari, H.P. and Syauqillah, M. Article
This research aims to compile data and information that will contribute to understanding the online radicalization phenomenon through translation. There are many studies on using the internet and propaganda in a terrorism context. However, only a handful studied the correlation between translation and terrorism propaganda, especially in Indonesia. There was little discussion on the role of translation in bridging communication between different nations, cultures, and languages and using it to propagate radical/propaganda narratives worldwide and amplify those messages to its target audience. The research method is descriptive qualitative using primary and secondary data; the sample is taken from the book of Nadharat Fi Al Ijma' Al Qath'i and previous findings and news. This research revealed at least ten roles of translation in the online radicalization phenomenon; among others, translation in the target language can be used to identify the target audience of the propagandist, and many terrorist sympathizers were willing to volunteer to translate the propaganda. However, although the translation is used to leverage the spread of propaganda, it can also assist law enforcement officers in combating terrorist/propaganda narratives. Indonesian law enforcement officers may use translation to counter-terrorism as Indonesia has hundreds of vernacular languages that can be used to 'encrypt' and disseminate their extremist narratives.
Discussing the Islamic State on Twitter
2022 Colombo, M. and Curini, L. Book
This book explores how ordinary Arab-speaking social media users have reacted to propaganda from the Islamic State, rather than how IS propaganda has targeted ordinary users, thus providing a change in perspective in the literature. The authors provide a comprehensive account of the evolution of the Arabic discourse on IS, encompassing all phases of the Caliphate’s political evolution, from the apogee of the Islamic State in October 2014 to the loss of its unofficial capital of Raqqa in September 2017. Taking into account key events, the book also considers the most recurrent topics for IS and its opponents who engage in the Twitter conversation. The analysis is based on around 29 million tweets written in the Arabic language, representing a random sample of around one-third of all Arabic tweets referring to IS over the 2014-2017 timeframe.
A Systemic Functional Linguistics Approach to Analyzing White Supremacist and Conspiratorial Discourse on YouTube
2022 Inwood, O. and Zappavigna, M. Article
Since the 2016 US Presidential Election, extreme right-wing communities have gained extensive popularity on YouTube, spreading discourses of white supremacy and conspiracy. This paper focuses on how methods drawn from Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) can be used to analyze this communication and contribute to research interests within the field of media and communication studies. SFL is a social semiotic model of language concerned with systematic analysis of language choices in terms of their social context. More specifically, this paper draws upon the Appraisal and Affiliation frameworks developed within SFL, in order to understand how patterns of evaluation are expressed in language and how these function in terms of aligning ambient audiences with particular values. YouTube videos and comments about the Notre Dame Cathedral Fire are used as a case study. The aim is to illustrate how this approach can offer an additional perspective on the issues of information disorder and hate speech that does not attempt to homogenize the multiple reasons why people engage in such hateful behavior.
From solidarity to blame game: A computational approach to comparing far-right and general public Twitter discourse in the aftermath of the Hanau terror attack
2022 Hohner, J., Schulze, H., Greipl, S. and Rieger, D. Article
Terror attacks are followed by public shock and disorientation. Previous research has found that people use social media to collectively negotiate responses, interpretations, and sense-making in the aftermath of terror attacks. However, the role of ideologically motivated discussions and their relevance to the overall discourse have not been studied. This paper ad-dresses this gap and focuses specifically on the far-right discourse, comparing it to the general public Twitter discourse following the terror attack in Hanau in 2020. A multi-method ap-proach combines network analysis and structural topic modelling to analyse 237,000 tweets. We find responsibility attribution to be one of the central themes: The general discourse pri-marily voiced sympathy with the victims and attributed responsibility for the attack to far-right terror or activism. In contrast, the far right – in an attempt to reshape the general narra-tive – raised a plethora of arguments to shift the attribution of responsibility from far-right activism towards the (political) elite and the personal circumstances of the shooter. In terms of information sharing and seeking, we demonstrate that new information was contextualised differentially depending on the ideological stance. The results are situated in the scientific dis-course concerning differences in social media communication ensuing terrorist attacks.
Covid-19 Protesters and the Far Right on Telegram: Co-Conspirators or Accidental Bedfellows?
2022 Curley, C., Siapera, E. and Carthy, J. Article
The COVID-19 pandemic led to the creation of a new protest movement, positioned against government lockdowns, mandatory vaccines, and related measures. Efforts to control misinformation by digital platforms resulted in take downs of key accounts and posts. This led some of these protest groups to migrate to platforms with less stringent content moderation policies, such as Telegram. Telegram has also been one of the destinations of the far right, whose deplatforming from mainstream platforms began a few years ago. Given the co-existence of these two movements on Telegram, the article examines their connections. Empirically, the article focused on Irish Telegram groups and channels, identifying relevant protest movements and collecting their posts. Using computational social science methods, we examine whether far-right terms and discourses are present and how this varies across different clusters of Telegram Covid-19 protest groups. In addition, we examine which actors are posting far-right content and what kind of roles they play in the network of Telegram groups. The findings indicate the presence of far-right discourses among the COVID-19 groups. However, the existence of these groups was not solely driven by the extreme right, and the incidence of far-right discourses was not equal across all COVID-19 protest groups. We interpret these findings under the prism of the mediation opportunity structure: while the far right appears to have taken advantage of the network opportunity structure afforded by deplatforming and the migration to Telegram, it did not succeed in diffusing its ideas widely among the COVID-19 protest groups in the Irish Telegram.
In the Blind Spot – How right-wing extremists use alternative platforms for radicalisation
2022 Hammer, D., Rübbert, Z. and Schwieter, C. Report
This report provides a summary of the expert conference “Im toten Winkel – Wie Rechtsextreme alternative Online-Plattformen zur Radikalisierung nutzen” (In the blind spot – How right-wing extremists use alternative online platforms for radicalisation), which was held as part of the project “Countering radicalisation in right-wing extremist online subcultures” funded by the German Federal Ministry of Justice (BMJ). The first annual conference of the project took place from 25 to 26 November 2021 in Berlin as a hybrid event. In addition to the approximately 50 participants who were present at the conference venue, invited guests were also able to follow the event via a closed livestream. The conference served to present current research projects from digital right-wing extremism research and to discuss diverse perspectives from research, regulation and law enforcement.
Detours and Diversions Online Strategies for the Dissemination of Right-Wing Extremist Content
2022 Kuchta, R., Hammer, D., Gerster, L. and Schwieter, C. Report
Since the beginning of 2021, ISD Germany has been researching right-wing extremist actors on alternative platforms on the internet. Three reports were published as part of the German Federal Ministry for Justice (BMJ)-funded project “Countering radicalisation in right-wing extremist online subcultures”. The last report in 2021, “Detours and Diversions – Online Strategies for the Dissemination of Right-Wing Extremist Content”, provides a summary of the projects central findings and presents them in a comparative manner.

This report thus combines the methodological and theoretical groundwork of the report “Wegweiser” with the results of the empirical research of the reports “Fluchtwege” and “Stützpfeiler Telegram”, and puts them into context. The report presents a comparison of data from established platforms and Telegram, and thus helps to gain a better understanding of the behaviour of far-right actors on the selected platforms. It also includes a comparative analysis of the strategies and linkages of far-right and radical right actors on established and alternative platforms. This research is based on the empirical data collected by the platforms. Given, that data collection is different for each platform, and given that this project also explores alternative platforms, it also furthers the exploration of data collection options, which are described in more detail in this report.
Telegram as a Buttress: How far-right extremists and conspiracy theorists are expanding their infrastructures via Telegram
2022 Gerster, L., Kuchta, R., Hammer, D. and Schwieter, C. Report
The ISD Germany study on the extreme right-wing use of Telegram serves as a complementary text to the “Escape routes” report. In it, the research team examined links to other platforms, which were shared on the controversial messenger service and were disseminated in the channels of right-wing extremists, right-wing radicals and conspiracy ideologues in the German-speaking world. The main scope of this research was on smaller platforms that do not fall under the deletion obligation of the NetzDG. Links to larger platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter were also analysed, given that the collected data set contained almost twice as many links to these platforms than to those not fully covered by the NetzDG.

For this report, the ISD research team collected 659,110 messages from 238 public channels from the extreme right, radical right, Reichsbürger:innen and conspiracy ideology spectrum between 1 January and 12 September 2021. From these messages, 371,988 links were extracted, leading to 8,252 domains. The ISD Germany researchers examined domains that were shared more than 15 times and identified social networks and platforms.
Signposts – A background report on right-wing extremist online subcultures
2022 Hammer, D., Matlach, P. and Baaken, T. Report
“Signposts” provides background information on the publications of the project “Countering Radicalisation in Right-Wing Extremist Online Subcultures” funded by the Federal Ministry of Justice (BMJ).

In the first part of this report, a brief historical overview of right-wing extremist internet use in Germany is given. The report describes how, since the emergence of the internet, the extreme right in Germany has always found ways to utilise the latest technological and social developments, such as the emergence of Web 2.0, for their own purposes. The first part of the report also presents the state of research on the right-wing extremist online milieu and describes focal points of current research on right-wing extremism.

The second part of the report describes the conceptual preparatory work that preceded the analyses within the framework of the project. This includes, on the one hand, the development of a definition of right-wing extremism for the project. This is because a uniform definition of the term does not exist, but is necessary for concise and transparent research into the right-wing extremist online milieu. Furthermore, in preparation for data driven analyses in the project, interviews with right-wing extremism experts were conducted, which revealed current developments in right-wing extremist internet strategies.
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