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 Communicative Constitution of Hate Organizations Online: A Semantic Network Analysis of “Make America Great Again”
2018 Eddington, S. M. Article
In the context of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, President Donald Trump’s use of Twitter to connect with followers and supporters created unprecedented access to Trump’s online political campaign. In using the campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again” (or its acronym “MAGA”), Trump communicatively organized and controlled media systems by offering his followers an opportunity to connect with his campaign through the discursive hashtag. In effect, the strategic use of these networks over time communicatively constituted an effective and winning political organization; however, Trump’s political organization was not without connections to far-right and hate groups that coalesced in and around the hashtag. Semantic network analyses uncovered how the textual nature of #MAGA organized connections between hashtags, and, in doing so, exposed connections to overtly White supremacist groups within the United States and the United Kingdom throughout late November 2016. Cluster analyses further uncovered semantic connections to White supremacist and White nationalist groups throughout the hashtag networks connected to the central slogan of Trump’s presidential campaign. Theoretically, these findings contribute to the ways in which hashtag networks show how Trump’s support developed and united around particular organizing processes and White nationalist language, and provide insights into how these networks discursively create and connect White supremacists’ organizations to Trump’s campaign.
The Conflict In Jammu And Kashmir And The Convergence Of Technology And Terrorism
2019 Taneja, K. and Shah, K. M. Report
This paper provides recommendations for what government and social media companies can do in the context of Jammu and Kashmir’s developing online theatre of both potential radicalisation and recruitment
The Counter-Narrative Handbook
2016 Tuck, H. and Silverman, T. Report
Given the proliferation of violent extremist content online in recent years, developing effective counter-narratives - messages that offer a positive alternative to extremist propaganda, or deconstruct or delegitimise extremist narratives and challenge extremist ideologies - is an increasingly necessary alternative to online censorship. This Handbook, funded by Public Safety Canada through the Kanishka Project, was created by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) to help anyone looking to proactively respond to extremist propaganda with counter-narrative campaigns, and is intended as a beginner’s guide for those with little or no previous experience of counter-narrative campaigning. It takes readers through the main stages of creating, launching and evaluating an effective c ounter-narrative c ampaign. I t c an a lso b e u sed a longside I SD's freely available online Counter-narrative Toolkit, which can be found at www.counternarratives.org. Our advice is based on ISD’s experiences in creating, running and evaluating in-house campaigns such as Extreme Dialogue, and collaborating with independent content-creators, from civil society and NGO campaigners to young activists, to amplify their counter-narrative messages through training, networking and campaign support. This Handbook therefore focuses on civil-society, youth or NGO-led online counternarrative campaigns.
The Cybercoaching of Terrorists: Cause for Alarm?
2017 Mueller, M. Article
John Mueller examines the degree to which the cybercoaching of terrorists should be cause for concern, arguing that in
many cases cybercoaches have little control over their amateurish charges.
The Dark Net
2015 Bartlett, J. Book
Beyond the familiar online world that most of us inhabit lies a vast network of sites, communities and cultures where freedom is pushed to its limits. A world that is as creative and complex as it is dangerous and disturbing. A world that is much closer than you think. The Dark Net is a revelatory examination of the internet today, and of its most innovative and dangerous.
The Dark Side of Online Activism: Swedish Right-Wing Extremist Video Activism on YouTube
2014 Ekman, M. Journal
In recent years, an emerging body of work, centred on specific communicative forms used in facilitating collective and connective action, have contributed to greater understanding of how digital communication relates to social mobilisation. Plenty of these studies highlight the progressive potentiality of digital communication. However, undemocratic actors also utilise the rapid advancement in digital technology. This article explores the online video activism of extreme right-wing groups in Sweden. It analyses more than 200 clips on YouTube, produced by five right-wing extremist organisations. The study shows that the extreme right deploy video activism as a strategy of visibility to mobilise and strengthen activists. Moreover, the groups attempt to alter the perception of (historically-rooted) socio-political identi- ties of the extreme right. Furthermore, YouTube becomes a political arena in which action repertoires and street politics are adapted to the specific characteristics of online video activism. Finally, video activism could be understood as an aestheticisation of politics.
The Dark Side of the Web: Italian Right-Wing Extremist Groups and the Internet
2009 Caiani, M. and Parenti, L. Article
Focusing on extreme-right organisations in Italy, this article addresses the specific use of the Internet by extremist groups and its potential role for the formation of collective identity, organisational contacts and mobilisation. The analysis includes both political parties and non-party organisations, even violent groups. Through the combination of Social Network Analysis (SNA) of web linkages amongst approximately 100 organisations, with a formalised content analysis of those websites, we argue that various forms of usage of the Internet by right-wing organisations are indeed on the rise,
with an increase not only in the number of extremist websites but also in the exploitation of the Internet for diffusing propaganda, promoting ‘virtual communities’ of debate, fundraising, and organising and mobilising political campaigns. The various specificities of the usage of the Internet by extreme right organisations are demonstrated and linked to offline reality.
The Deceit of internet hate speech: A Study of the narrative and visual methods used by hate groups on the Internet
2004 Albano, G.M. MA Thesis
Intentional misinformation is a problem that has been documented in a variety of shapes and forms for thousands of years and continues to plague the American landscape. The advent and increasing usage of the Internet have created an additional venue through which intentional misinformation is disseminated, and many groups are taking full advantage of this new communication medium. Because the Internet allows anyone with web publishing skills to disseminate misinformation, it is often difficult for users to judge the credibility of the information. Hate groups understand this phenomenon and are taking full advantage of the Internet by publishing hate sites that promote their extremist ideologies by using language and symbolism that makes the true message difficult to decipher. This study will investigate the methods employed by hate groups to disseminate misinformation to the public.
The Devil's Long Tail: Religious and Other Radicals in the Internet Marketplace
2014 Stevens, D. and O’Hara, K. Book
This book is concerned with the links or relationships between religious radicalism, violent extremism and the Internet.
The Digital Battlefield: A Network Analysis of the Online Activities of the Modern Militia Movement
2018 DeLeeuw, J. G. MA Thesis
The goal of this dissertation is to develop a better understanding of how militias use the internet to connect with other militias, their members, and the public. The modern militia movement in the United States experienced a resurgence of late following a rapid decline in the early 2000s. Along with the drop in membership, the interest levels of researchers and law enforcement began to fade and as a result, a significant gap formed in the literature as it relates to our understanding of the groups’ activities. I address this gap by examining the online activities of the modern militia movement at three levels. Specifically, I examine how militias throughout the United States connect with each other through their official websites, how militias operating at different geographic levels connect with other websites, and how a regional militia uses Facebook to communicate with its members and the public. The three components of this dissertation reveal that the modern militia movement has experienced important changes in its online activity since 2013. Component I examines the breakdown in the nationwide network of militia websites that occurred between 2014 and 2017. Component II reveals the ways the networks surrounding three militia groups changed from 2013 to 2017 and the important role ideology plays in the connections between websites. Component III examines the ways one militia utilized Facebook during an eleven month period, including which content posted by the group had the highest likelihood of generating participation from visitors and the interactions that occurred in the most active discussions among visitors. Understanding how militias connect with each other and with individuals is an important step towards understanding the modern movement, its goals, and activities. A deeper understanding of these groups and their activities will provide a foundation for future research and assist law enforcement developing response strategies.
The Digital Caliphate
2016 Jovana, V. MA Thesis
Within the short timeframe of a few months, a new terrorist group managed to solidify its presence in the Middle East in order to begin radicalizing and recruiting foreigners to fight jihad and declare an overarching goal of creating a purely Islamic State. DAESH quickly established their brand and a media strategy and became known worldwide for the high production value of their communication operations just as much as for their savage cruelty. The use of media has become vital to its overall success as a terrorist organization. Through targeted propaganda strategies, DAESH has managed to appeal to marginalized foreigners. While the populations of the Western world, largely opposed to DAESH, receive videos of beheadings and barbarity, potential recruits are inundated with images of state-building, charity work, and brotherhood. Concurrently, DAESH has managed to utilize the mainstream media landscape in order to further facilitate anti- Islamic rhetoric and intensify the air of mystery surrounding the organization. Through the sophisticated use of technology, as well as a detailed understanding and exploitation of human behavior and psychology, DAESH has managed to establish themselves as one of the most adept terror organizations, due in large part to the successful intersection of their communication operations with targeted propaganda strategies.
The Digital Caliphate. A Study of Propaganda from the Islamic State
2017 Kaati, L. Report
This report presents research carried out within the project (Ku2016/01373/D - Uppdrag till Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut (FOI) att göra kartläggningar och analyser av våldsbejakande extremistisk propaganda) that has been assigned to the Swedish defence research agency by the Swedish Government. The project will continue until March 2019. The purpose of this report is to highlight various aspects of IS’s digital propaganda; How it is spread, what its content is, how the content varies over time, and how images are used in the propaganda. We have also studied the role of women and children in IS-propaganda, and how a youth culture called Jihadi cool has evolved with its own kind of clothing, music and cultural expressions. IS’s propaganda contains a variety of religious concepts and references, which IS sometimes use in a non-traditional way. Therefore, a chapter in this report describes how Islamic politico-religious language can be used to convey different kinds of messages
The Discourse Of Cyberterrorism: Exceptional Measures Call For The Framing Of Exceptional Times
2015 Auwema, N. M. MA Thesis
The configuration of the discourse of cyberterrorism in the Netherlands is a mix of public and private actors that have diverging views about whether cyberterrorism is a genuine security threat. How and why have several of these actors argued that it is a genuine security threat? What was their interest in doing so? Has cyberterrorism possibly been framed or hyped as a genuine security threat? This thesis examines the discourse of cyberterrorism in the Netherlands by examining the field, the position on cyberterrorism of the actors within this field, and finally, their levels of technological capital, legitimacy and authority. Considering the differences in these levels, this thesis contends that public and private actors have different interests in arguing that cyberterrorism is a threat. While public actors are concerned with the protection of Dutch cyberspace and the Dutch society, private actors, with the exception of Fox-IT, have multiple interests. This has led these private actors to frame or hype cyberterrorism as a genuine security threat, without the necessary background to base their statement on. Exceptional measures have led to the framing of exceptional times.
The Discourse of Terror Threats: Assessing Online Written Threats by Nigerian Terrorist Groups
2016 Chiluwa, I. Journal
Online threats by terrorist groups are viewed as a special type of discourse that sends menacing explicit messages, expressing not only an intention to cause a direct physical harm to the threatened, but also to show a commitment to destroy public property or cause a change of system or government. This study applies critical discourse analysis with some insights from pragmatics to analyze the discourse-pragmatic contents of terror threats by two terrorist groups in Nigeria—Boko Haram and Ansaru. Explicit and implied threats are examined from seven online publications by these groups written between 2009 and 2012. This study shows that terror threats by Nigerian terrorist groups are intertextually and ideologically related to threats associated with Al Qaeda and global jihad, which also goes further to establish their strong link and influence with other terror groups around the world. The findings also show that the structure of terror threats is significantly different from the conventional formula for verbal threats.
The Domestic Extremist Next Door: How Digital Platforms Enable the War Against American Government
2021 Digital Citizens Alliance Report
Digital platforms enabled the disturbing rise of domestic extremism, culminating with the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Militia groups use social media networks to plan operations, recruit new members, and spread anti-democracy propaganda, a new Digital Citizens Alliance (Digital Citizens) and Coalition for a Safer Web (CSW) investigation has found.
The Dynamics of the Creation, Evolution, and Disappearance of Terrorist Internet Forums
2013 Torres-Soriano, M.R. Journal
An examination of the organisational nature of the threat posed by jihadi terrorism, supplying quantitative and qualitative data on the dynamics behind the creation, evolution, and disappearance of the main jihadi Internet forums during the period 2008–2012. An analysis of the origins and functions of the forums, their links with terrorist organizations, their internal structures, and the processes accounting for their stability in cyberspace shows that far from representing a horizontal structure where the main actors are a network of followers, the terrorist presence on the Internet is in fact a hierarchical organization in which intervention by formal terrorist organizations plays a crucial role.
The E-Marketing Strategy of Hamas
2010 Mozes, T and Weimann, G. Journal
Given the growth of Internet research in recent years, it is rather surprising that research of online terrorism and countermeasures has been lacking theoretical and conceptual frameworks. The present study suggests applying the concepts and models taken from e-marketing to the study of terrorist websites. This work proves that when Hamas builds an array of sites in the Internet, it complies with the same rules that the Western business world follows. Chaffey et al. (2000) constructed a model comprised of eight decision points in the process of building a business-oriented Internet site. Although the model was developed for commercial purposes, the present study demonstrates how it could be used as an analytic framework to study terrorist websites. As shown, most of the decision points in the model were relevant to the Palestinian Information Center group of websites. Understanding the e-marketing strategy of Hamas will allow the construction of a competing marketing strategy in order to market rival ideological consumer products.
The Ecology of Extremists’ Communications: Messaging Effectiveness, Social Environments and Individual Attributes
2020 Hamid, N. Article
Many prevention and countering of violent extremism experts place too much emphasis on the radicalising power of online mass distributed messaging by violent extremist groups. Instead, Nafees Hamid argues that radicalisation takes place in a social ecology within which the messaging of terrorist groups plays only a small role. This article shows that people are resistant to mass persuasion and that certain environments are more conducive to the spread of extremist messaging. Small-group dynamics are useful to explain the spread of ideas and that altering these dynamics can provide a buffer against some ideas while enabling others.
The Effectiveness Of The Principle Of Distinction In The Context Of Cyber Warfare
2014 Van Breda, L. C. MA Thesis
International humanitarian law provides foundational norms which are to be observed by states in order to protect civilians from the harsh realities of war. These norms have been applied to traditional kinetic methods of warfare but as technology advances at a rapid pace so too do methods of warfare. As weaponry becomes more sophisticated it is necessary to revisit the foundational principles of international humanitarian law and apply them to situations that could only previously have been imagined. The principles of distinction is a core principle of this branch of law and it is not to be disregarded as a result of the fact that it predates modern methods of warfare but rather it is to be re-examined, its importance observed and applied to the warfare that we are faced with today. Protecting civilians has been of utmost importance in recent history and the development in the technology of weapons should not change that fact in the present or future.
The Effects of User Features on Twitter Hate Speech Detection
2018 Unsvåg, E.F. and Gambäck, B. Article
The paper investigates the potential effects user features have on hate speech classification. A quantitative analysis of Twitter data was conducted to better understand user characteristics, but no correlations were found between hateful text and the characteristics of the users who had posted it. However, experiments with a hate speech classifier based on datasets from three different languages showed that combining certain user features with textual features gave slight improvements of classification performance. While the incorporation of user features resulted in varying impact on performance for the different datasets used, user network-related features provided the most consistent improvements.