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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Differentiating Act from Ideology: Evidence from Messages For and Against Violent Extremism
VOX-Pol Discusses Media Strategies of Violent Radical Groups Online
Echo Chambers and Online Radicalism: Assessing the Internet's Complicity in Violent Extremism
MEDIA DECLINE VOX Pol
A Blueprint for Bypassing Extremism
|The Redirect Method||Policy|
|The Redirect Method uses Adwords targeting tools and curated YouTube videos uploaded by people all around the world to confront online radicalization. It focuses on the slice of ISIS’ audience that is most susceptible to its messaging, and redirects them towards curated YouTube videos debunking ISIS recruiting themes. This open methodology was developed from interviews with ISIS defectors, respects users’ privacy and can be deployed to tackle other types of violent recruiting discourses online.|
Tracking Online Radicalization Using Investigative Data Mining
|2013||Wadhwa, P. and Bhatia, M.P.S.||Article|
|The increasing complexity and emergence of Web 2.0 applications have paved way for threats arising out of the use of social networks by cyber extremists (Radical groups). Radicalization (also called cyber extremism and cyber hate propaganda) is a growing concern to the society and also of great pertinence to governments & law enforcement agencies all across the world. Further, the dynamism of these groups adds another level of complexity in the domain, as with time, one may witness a change in members of the group and hence has motivated many researchers towards this field. This proposal presents an investigative data mining approach for detecting the dynamic behavior of these radical groups in online social networks by textual analysis of the messages posted by the members of these groups along with the application of techniques used in social network analysis. Some of the preliminary results obtained through partial implementation of the approach are also discussed.|
Neo‐Nazis and Taliban On‐line: Anti‐Modern Political Movements and Modern Media
|Usually the Internet is seen as a new medium with great potential for enhancing citizenship and democracy. This essay will try to present and to reflect on some of the less well known sides of the world wide web. In this case the 'dark sides' of the Internet will not refer to web sites of sex and violence, which have attracted more attention, but rather to two political movements with a high presence in the Internet: on the one hand the neoNazis in Germany and elsewhere, and on the other hand the Taliban in Afghanistan. At first glance a topic like the 'neo-Nazis and Taliban on-line' seems to combine very disparate societal movements that are neither new (the Nazis) nor very active in a modern environment (the Taliban). This contribution will show that both the neo-Nazis and the Taliban have important similarities in their structural approaches to society as well as in their presence in the Internet, but there are also of course serious differences. Because of this unusual comparison it will be helpful to sketch some of the context for the activities of the neo-Nazis and Taliban before we turn to the main issue.|
Making Friends and Enemies on Social Media: The Case of Gun Policy Organizations
|The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of interest groups in the formation of online echo chambers and to determine whether interest groups’ use of social media contributes to political polarization.|
This study used a content analysis of nearly 10,000 tweets (from 2009 to 2014) by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the National Rifle Association to examine how groups engage with their political allies and opponents.
The results indicated that both groups engaged primarily with their supporters on Twitter while avoiding confrontation with their opponents. In particular, both groups used hashtags designed to reach their supporters, retweeted messages almost exclusively from other users with whom they agreed, and disproportionately used Twitter handles of their allies, while avoiding the use of Twitter handles of their opponents.
The findings suggest that interest groups’ use of social media accelerates the formation of online echo chambers, but does not lead to an increase in polarization beyond existing levels, given practices that maintain civility between opposing sides.
White Supremacist Networks on the Internet
|2000||Burris, V., Smith, E. and Strahm, A.||Journal|
|In this paper we use methods of social network analysis to examine the inter-organizational structure of the white supremacist movement. Treating links between Internet websites as ties of affinity, communication, or potential coordination, we investigate the structural properties of connections among white supremacist groups. White supremacism appears to be a relatively decentralized movement with multiple centers of influence, but without sharp cleavages between factions. Interorganizational links are stronger among groups with a special interest in mutual affirmation of their intellectual legitimacy (Holocaust revisionists) or cultural identity (racist skinheads) and weaker among groups that compete for members (political parties) or customers (commercial enterprises). The network is relatively isolated from both mainstream conservatives and other extremist groups. Christian Identity theology appears ineffective as a unifying creed of the movement, while Nazi sympathies are pervasive. Recruitment is facilitated by links between youth and adult organizations and by the propaganda efforts of more covertly racist groups. Links connect groups in many countries, suggesting the potential of the Internet to facilitate a whitesupremacist “cyber-community” that transcends regional and national boundaries.|
The Electronic Starry Plough: The Enationalism of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement (IRSM)
|This paper takes the case of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement (IRSM) as the point of departure to discuss how insurgent political movement use Web communications. From mirror sites in Ireland and North America, IRSM supporters regularly use Web technology to relay the group message to a global audience at http://www.irsm.org/irsm.html. The resulting direct media contact gives the IRSM unprecedented access to global civil society. By referring to the IRSM Web site, the types of messages transmitted, the forms of transmission (text, video, audio, e-mail or other), and target audiences (national, global, political elites, media), this paper outlines some of the issues and challenges posed by Web-based anti-government media. The Internet and the Web do not constitute a threat to state power as some analysts suggest but at the same time they significantly alter political communication. The IRSM is a case of "enationalism", that is, the representation of a place as home to a specific group of people. Unlike traditional nationalism, enationalism is not tied to physical space or territory, but to representation of a network of relations based on a common language, historical experience, religion and/or culture. It is about both memory and future projection of a place as the home for a given group. In this light, new media will likely co-exist with other forms of political communication for some time.|
Gender and Power in Online Communication
|New communication technologies are often invested with users' hopes for change in the social order. Thus the Internet is said to be inherently democratic, levelling traditional distinctions of social status, and creating opportunities for less powerful individuals and groups to participate on a par with members of more powerful groups. Specifically, the Internet has been claimed to lead to greater gender equality, with women, as the socially, politically, and economically less powerful gender, especially likely to reap its benefits.|
Terror in Cyberspace Terrorists Will Exploit and Widen the Gap Between Governing Structures and the Public
|There is an inverse relationship between public access to the Internet and the inability of governments and institutions to control information flow and hence state allegiance, ideology, public opinion, and policy formulation. Increase in public access to the Internet results in an equivalent decrease in government and institutional power. Indeed, after September 11, 2001, Internet traffic statistics show that many millions of Americans have connected to alternative news sources outside the continental United States. The information they consume can be and often is contrary to U.S. government statements and U.S. mainstream media reporting. Recognizing this, terrorists will coordinate their assaults with an adroit use of cyberspace for the purpose of manipulating perceptions, opinion, and the political and socioeconomic direction of many nation-states.|
Hackers as Terrorists? Why it Doesn't Compute
|The bulk of this article is concerned with showing why computer hackers|
and terrorists are unlikely to form an unholy alliance to engage in so-called
cyberterrorism. The remainder of the paper examines why neither hacktivists nor
crackers fall easily into the cyberterrorist category either.
Code wars: Steganography, Signals Intelligence, and Terrorism
|This paper describes and discusses the process of secret communication known as steganography. The argument advanced here is that terrorists are unlikely to be employing digital steganography to facilitate secret intra-group communication as has been claimed. This is because terrorist use of digital steganography is both technically and operationally implausible. The position adopted in this paper is that terrorists are likely to employ low-tech steganography such as semagrams and null ciphers instead.|
Cyberterrorism: the story so far
|This paper is concerned with the origins and development of the concept of cyberterrorism. It seeks to excavate the story of the concept through an analysis of both popular/media renditions of the term and scholarly attempts to define the borders of same. The contention here is not that cyberterrorism cannot happen or will not happen, but that, contrary to popular perception, it has not happened yet.|
Terrorism and IT: Cyberterrorism and Terrorist Organisations Online
|Chapter, "Terrorism and IT: cyberterrorism and terrorist organisations online" in book: Howard, Russell D. and Sawyer, Reid L., (eds.) Terrorism and counterterrorism: understanding the new security environment, readings and interpretations|
Hate Online: A Content Analysis of Extremist Internet Sites
|2003||Gerstenfeld, P., Grant, D. and Chiang, C.||Journal|
|Extremists, such as hate groups espousing racial supremacy or separation, have established an online presence. A content analysis of 157 extremist web sites selected through purposive sampling was conducted using two raters per site. The sample represented a variety of extremist groups and included both organized groups and sites maintained by apparently unaffiliated individuals. Among the findings were that the majority of sites contained external links to other extremist sites (including international sites), that roughly half the sites included multimedia content, and that half contained racist symbols. A third of the sites disavowed racism or hatred, yet one third contained material from supremacist literature. A small percentage of sites specifically urged violence. These and other findings suggest that the Internet may be an especially powerful tool for extremists as a means of reaching an international audience, recruiting members, linking diverse extremist groups, and allowing maximum image control.|
US Department of Defense Anti-Terrorism Handbook 2004
|2004||US Department of Defense||Policy|
|US Department of Defense Anti-Terrorism Handbook 2004|
"Linksextremismus im Internet", Extremismus in Deutschland
|2004||Reinhardt, A. and Reinhardt, B.||Report|
|Die Autoren nehmen sich des Problems der Nutzung des Internets durch Linksextremisten an und analysieren die unterschiedlichen "Gesichter“ des linksextremismus im Internet.|
Terrorism and (Mass) Communication: From Nitro to the Net
|In their seminal contribution to the study of terrorism and the media, Violence as Communication (1982), Alex Schmid and Jenny De Graaf point out that before technology made possible the amplification and multiplication of speech, the maximum number of people that could be reached simultaneously was determined by the range of the human voice and was around 20,000 people. In the nineteenth century, the size of an audience was expanded twenty-five to fifty times. In 1839 the New York Sun published a record 39,000 copies; in 1896, on the occasion of President McKinley’s election, two US papers, belonging to Pulitzer and Hearst, for the first time printed a million copies. William McKinley paid a high price for this publicity. In 1901 he was killed by an anarchist, Leon Czolgosz, who explained his deed with the words: ‘For a man should not claim so much attention, while others receive none.’ Historically, access to the communication structure was intimately related to power. With the growth of the press, and later television, a situation arose that gave unequal chances of expression to different people. This connection between power and free expression was summed-up by A.J. Liebling who observed that ‘Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one.|
Cyberterrorism: Media Myth or Clear and Present Danger?
|Chapter, "Cyberterrorism: media myth or clear and present danger?" in book: Irwin, Jones, (ed.) War and virtual war: the challenges to communities.|
Cybercortical Warfare: Hizbollah’s Internet Strategy
|The acceleration of the historical tempo and the move from hierarchical to networked conceptions of power is disintegrating the mechanisms of control and political representation at the disposal of the state. The upshot of this is that ‘resistance confronts domination, empowerment reacts against powerlessness, and alternative projects challenge the logic embedded in the new global order’ (Castells 1997, 69). These reactions and mobilisations, often take ‘unusual formats and proceed through unexpected ways’ (Castells 1997, 69). This chapter deals with one such alternative project. It is a preliminary empirical analysis of the adoption by the Lebanese-based terrorist group Hizbollah (Party of God) of a strategy of cybercortical warfare. In his introduction to the Vintage edition of Covering Islam (1997), Edward Said refers to the ‘information wars that have gone on since 1948 around the whole question of the Middle East’ (p. xxi). He is particularly concerned with the way in which Hizbollah ‘who identify themselves and are perceived locally as resistance fighters’ are ‘commonly referred to in the American media as terrorists’ (p. xiii). Hizbollah are one of a number of groups that have utilized the Internet ‘to produce and articulate a conscious and forceful self-image’ (Said: 66) of themselves not as terrorists, but as resistance fighters and statesmen. The major focus of this chapter is the way in which Hizbollah have wielded the Internet as a weapon in their information war. As will be demonstrated, the group’s collection of Web sites is targeted not at Lebanese or Palestinian audiences, but at the Israeli population and global publics. For this reason, the chapter represents a case study of the possibilities of the new technology, discussed and defined by this chapter as ‘cybercortical warfare’.|
A Content Analysis of Persuasion Techniques Used on White Supremacist Websites
|2005||Weatherby, G.A. and Scoggins, B.||Journal|
|The Internet has made it possible for people to access just about any information they could possibly want. Conversely, it has given organizations a vehicle through which they can get their message out to a large audience. Hate groups have found the Internet particularly appealing, because they are able to get their uncensored message out to an unlimited number of people (ADL 2005). This is an issue that is not likely to go away.|