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.

Featured

Full Listing

TitleYearAuthorTypeLinks
What’s Love Got To Do With It? Framing ‘JihadJane’ in the US Press
2012 Conway, M. and McInerney, L. Journal
The purpose of this article is to compare and contrast the US press coverage accorded to female terrorist plotter, Colleen LaRose, with that of two male terrorist plotters in order to test whether assertions in the academic literature regarding media treatment of women terrorists stand up to empirical scrutiny. The authors employed TextSTAT software to generate frequency counts of all words contained in 150 newspaper reports on their three subjects and then slotted relevant terms into categories fitting the commonest female terrorist frames, as identified by Nacos’s article in Studies in Conflict and Terrorism (2005). The authors’ findings confirm that women involved in terrorism receive significantly more press coverage and are framed vastly differently in the US press than their male counterparts.
What to Do about the Emerging Threat of Censorship Creep on the Internet
2017 Citron, D.K. Policy
Popular tech companies—Google, Facebook,
Twitter, and others—have strongly protected
free speech online, a policy widely associated
with the legal norms of the United States.
American tech companies, however, operate
globally, and their platforms are subject to regulation
by the European Union, whose member states offer less
protection to expression than does the United States.
European regulators are pressuring tech companies to
control and suppress extreme speech. The regulators’
clear warning is that, if the companies do not comply
“voluntarily,” they will face harsher laws and potential
liability. This regulatory effort runs the risk of censorship
creep, whereby a wide array of protected speech, including
political criticism and newsworthy content, may end up
being removed from online platforms on a global scale.
What they do in the shadows: examining the far-right networks on Telegram
2020 Urman, A. and Katz, S. Article
The present paper contributes to the research on the activities of far-right actors on social media by examining the interconnections between far-right actors and groups on Telegram platform using network analysis. The far-right network observed on Telegram is highly decentralized, similarly to the far-right networks found on other social media platforms. The network is divided mostly along the ideological and national lines, with the communities related to 4chan imageboard and Donald Trump’s supporters being the most influential. The analysis of the network evolution shows that the start of its explosive growth coincides in time with the mass bans of the far-right actors on mainstream social media platforms. The observed patterns of network evolution suggest that the simultaneous migration of these actors to Telegram has allowed them to swiftly recreate their connections and gain prominence in the network thus casting doubt on the effectiveness of deplatforming for curbing the influence of far-right and other extremist actors.
What is Gab? A Bastion of Free Speech or an Alt-Right Echo Chamber?
2018 Zannettou, S., Bradlyn, B., De Cristofaro, E., Kwak, H., Sirivianos, M., Stringhini, G. and Blackburn, J. Article
Over the past few years, a number of new "fringe" communities, like 4chan or certain subreddits, have gained traction on the Web at a rapid pace. However, more often than not, little is known about how they evolve or what kind of activities they attract, despite recent research has shown that they influence how false information reaches mainstream communities. This motivates the need to monitor these communities and analyze their impact on the Web's information ecosystem. In August 2016, a new social network called Gab was created as an alternative to Twitter. It positions itself as putting "people and free speech first'", welcoming users banned or suspended from other social networks. In this paper, we provide, to the best of our knowledge, the first characterization of Gab. We collect and analyze 22M posts produced by 336K users between August 2016 and January 2018, finding that Gab is predominantly used for the dissemination and discussion of news and world events, and that it attracts alt-right users, conspiracy theorists, and other trolls. We also measure the prevalence of hate speech on the platform, finding it to be much higher than Twitter, but lower than 4chan's Politically Incorrect board.
What is BitChute? Characterizing the “Free Speech” Alternative to YouTube
2020 Trujillo, M., Gruppi, M., Buntain, C. and Horne, B.D. Article
In this paper, we characterize the content and discourse on BitChute, a social video-hosting platform. Launched in 2017 as an alternative to YouTube, BitChute joins an ecosystem of alternative, low content moderation platforms, including Gab, Voat, Minds, and 4chan. Uniquely, BitChute is the first of these alternative platforms to focus on video content and is growing in popularity. Our analysis reveals several key characteristics of the platform. We find that only a handful of channels receive any engagement, and almost all of those channels contain conspiracies or hate speech. This high rate of hate speech on the platform as a whole, much of which is anti-Semitic, is particularly concerning. Our results suggest that BitChute has a higher rate of hate speech than Gab but less than 4chan. Lastly, we find that while some BitChute content producers have been banned from other platforms, many maintain profiles on mainstream social media platforms, particularly YouTube. This paper contributes a first look at the content and discourse on BitChute and provides a building block for future research on low content moderation platforms.
What Eye Movements and Facial Expressions Tell Us about User-Friendliness: Testing a Tool for Communicators and Journalists
2018 Lindholm J., Backholm K., and Högväg J. Chapter
Technical solutions can be important when key communicators take on the task of making sense of social media flows during crises. However, to provide situation awareness during high-stress assignments, usability problems must be identified and corrected. In usability studies, where researchers investigate the user-friendliness of a product, several types of data gathering methods can be combined. Methods may include subjective (surveys and observations) and psychophysiological (e.g. skin conductance and eye tracking) data collection. This chapter mainly focuses on how the latter type can provide detailed clues about user-friendliness. Results from two studies are summarised. The tool tested is intended to help communicators and journalists with monitoring and handling social media content during times of crises. Book Edited by Harald Hornmoen and Klas Backhoem.
What Does Dabiq Do? ISIS Hermeneutics and Organizational Fractures within Dabiq Magazine
2017 Colas, B. Journal
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)'s flagship English-language magazine, Dabiq, is a puzzle. The magazine is not, despite appearances, primarily designed for direct recruiting efforts or inciting violence against the West. In fact, the primary audiences of Dabiq are English-speaking second generation Muslims or converts, Western policymakers, and a third group of current or would-be members of ISIS who are not integrating with the organization itself. The third audience—those members who are failing to function within the organization—is strange to include in an English-language magazine. Why publish organizational weaknesses, in English? One possibility for this puzzle is that the fundamentalist hermeneutics of ISIS is reflected in their own media efforts. One of the assumptions that ISIS holds about their sacred texts is that each text carries a single meaning that reflects the author's original intent. There might be multiple applications of that intent, but each text can only have one intent, and therefore one meaning. Following this logic, a message meant for one person is unlikely to be of utility for another, and so this may be why ISIS exposes their weaknesses as part of the process of correcting their own members.
What Do Closed Source Data Tell Us About Lone Actor Terrorist Behavior? A Research Note
2019 Gill, P., Corner, E., McKeeb, A., Hitchen, P. and Betley, P. Article
This article contributes to the growing body of knowledge on loneactor terrorism with the incorporation of closed-source data. The analyses presented investigate the antecedent behaviors of U.K.- based lone-actor terrorists leading up to their planning or conducting a terrorist event. The results suggest that prior to their attack or arrest the vast majority of lone-actor terrorists each demonstrated elements concerning (a) their grievance, (b) an escalation in their intent to act, (c) gaining capability—both psychologically and technically and (d) attack planning. The results also disaggregate our understanding of lone-actor terrorists in two ways. First, we compare the behaviors of the jihadist actors to those of the extreme-right. Second, we visualize Borum’s (2012) continuums of loneness, direction, and motivation. Collectively the results provide insight into the threat assessment and management of potential lone actors
What are the Roles of the Internet In Terrorism? Measuring Online Behaviors of Convicted UK Terrorists
2015 Gill, P., Corner, E., Thornton, A. and Conway, M. VOX-Pol Publication
Using a unique dataset of 227 convicted UK-based terrorists, this report fills a large gap in the existing literature. Using descriptive statistics, we first outline the degree to which various online activities related to radicalisation were present within the sample. The results illustrate the variance in behaviours often attributed to ‘online radicalisation’. Second, we conducted a smallest-space analysis to illustrate two clusters of commonly co-occurring behaviours that delineate behaviours from those directly associated with attack planning. Third, we conduct a series of bivariate and multivariate analyses to question whether those who interact virtually with like-minded individuals or learn online, exhibit markedly different experiences (e.g. radicalisation, event preparation, attack outcomes) than those who do not.
What are the Responsibilities of Tech Companies in an Age of International Terrorism?
2016 Brimmer, E., Pielemeier, J., Brunner, L. and Walden, A. Video
Cosponsored by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) and the Greater Washington, DC Chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC-DC). This Policy Forum is convened by Dr. Susan Aaronson (IIEP/GWU) and Dr. Mark MacCarthy (SIIA).

Speakers:

- Professor Esther Brimmer, Professor of Practice of International Affairs, GWU, and former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations
- Jason Pielemeier, Business and Human Rights Section Lead, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State
- Lisl Brunner, Policy and Learning Director, Global Network Initiative
- Alexandria Walden, Public Policy & Gov't Relations Counsel, Google
Moderator: Dr. Mark MacCarthy, Senior Vice President for Public Policy, Software & Information Industry Association
Web as Weapon Internet as a Tool for Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism (Part 1 of 2)
2014 Hoffman, B. Video
Web as Weapon: Internet as a Tool for Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism (Part 1 of 2) Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment. WITNESSES: Dr. Bruce Hoffman, Professor, Georgetown University; Ms. Rita Katz, Director, SITE Institute; Ms. Parry Aftab, Internet Attorney; Mr. Mark Weitzman, Director, Task Force Against Hate, Simon Wiesenthal Center. Video provided by U.S. House of Representatives. Discussion held on 071106. Originally uploaded by House.Resource.Org on 14 November 2011
Web as Weapon Internet as a Tool for Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism ( Part 2 of 2 )
2014 Hoffman, B. Video
Web as Weapon: Internet as a Tool for Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism (Part 2 of 2) Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment. WITNESSES: Dr. Bruce Hoffman, Professor, Georgetown University; Ms. Rita Katz, Director, SITE Institute; Ms. Parry Aftab, Internet Attorney; Mr. Mark Weitzman, Director, Task Force Against Hate, Simon Wiesenthal Center. Video provided by U.S. House of Representatives. Discussion held on 071106. Originally uploaded by House.Resource.Org on 14 November 2011
Weaponizing white thymos: flows of rage in the online audiences of the alt-right
2020 Ganesh, B. Article
The alt-right is a growing radical right-wing network that is particularly effective at mobilizing emotion through digital communications. Introducing ‘white thymos’ as a framework to theorize the role of rage, anger, and indignation in alt-right communications, this study argues that emotive communication connects alt-right users and mobilizes white thymos to the benefit of populist radical right politics. By combining linguistic, computational, and interpretive techniques on data collected from Twitter, this study demonstrates that the alt-right weaponizes white thymos in three ways: visual documentation of white victimization, processes of legitimization of racialized pride, and reinforcement of the rectitude of rage and indignation. The weaponization of white thymos is then shown to be central to the culture of the alt-right and its connectivity with populist radical right politics.
Watching ISIS: How Young Adults Engage with Official English-language ISIS Videos
2018 Cottee S., and Cunliffe, J. Article
Research on jihadist online propaganda (henceforth JOP) tends to focus on the production, content and dissemination of jihadist online messages. Correspondingly, the target of JOP – that is, the audience – has thus far attracted little scholarly attention. This article seeks to redress this neglect by focusing on how audiences respond to jihadist online messaging. It presents the findings of an online pilot survey testing audience responses to clips from English-language ISIS videos. The survey was beset at every stage by ethical, legal and practical restrictions, and we discuss how these compromised our results and what this means for those attempting to do research in this highly sensitive area.
Warblog Without End: Online Anti-Islamic Discourses As Persuadables
2010 Munksgaard, D.C. MA Thesis
This dissertation is a critical discourse analysis of how anti-Islamic rhetoric in prominent online forums is articulated within the context of popular discourses of multiculturalism and tolerance. According to Melanie McAlister, perceptions of Muslims within the United States are unique in comparison to other minority groups in that they are almost entirely mediated, whether it is the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the terrorist attacks of September 11th, or the various Muhammad cartoon controversies. While much work has been done analyzing how Islam and Muslims are mediated in popular film and television, very little attention has been given to how these perspectives are mediated through the Internet. Using Erving Goffman's theory of performativity and Kristine Fitch's notion of persuadable, I examine how both prominent bloggers and pseudonymous commentators work in a "backstage" context to bring Islamophobic norms and premises within the sphere of acceptable opinions for the "front stage" of mainstream media discourses. In particular, I examine how these discourses have evolved over the past few years on three prominent weblogs: the anti-jihadist Little Green Footballs, the liberal-atheist advocacy blog One Good Move, and the popular news aggregate Fark. In light of increasing evidence that weblogs exert a high level of influence over popular media discourses disproportionate to their readership, these websites offer a glimpse "backstage" into how contemporary American discourses on Islam and Muslims are articulated across a broad array of political perspectives, particularly in relation to norms and premises regarding multiculturalism, tolerance, and freedom of expression. While Islamophobic rhetoric has become firmly embedded within discourses of the American Right, each of the three sites examined shows a steady integration of anti-Islamic perspectives within the American Left. Leftist anti-Islamic discourses are frequently articulated within the context of general anti-religious sentiment, misanthropy, and a belief that the values of "the Islamic world" are inherently incompatible with the liberal, democratic, and multicultural values of "the West." While by no means universal, these perspectives have become sufficiently common, recognizable, and sensible to be granted the status of persuadable within these particular web forums, which in turn helps to move them into the realm of popular American cultural persuadable.
VOX-Pol: An Introduction
2015 VOX-Pol Video
VOX-Pol: An Introduction
VOX-Pol Summer School Public Lecture: Brown Moses
2014 Higgins, E. Lecture
VOX-Pol Summer School: 'Topics in Violence Online Political Extremism'
Dublin: July 3, 2014
VOX-Pol Inaugural Conference Keynote Lecture: Thomas Hegghammer
2014 Hegghammer, T. Lecture
Inaugural VOX-Pol Conference:
'Violent Online Political Extremism: Setting a Research Agenda'
Kings College London: August 28-29, 2014
VOX-Pol Inaugural Conference Keynote Lecture: Manuela Caiani
2014 Caiani, M. Lecture
Inaugural VOX-Pol Conference:
'Violent Online Political Extremism: Setting a Research Agenda'
Kings College London: August 28-29, 2014
VOX-Pol Discusses Media Strategies of Violent Radical Groups Online
2015 Conway, M. and Brown, I. Video
At the end of January, VOX-Pol's Dr Maura Conway (DCU) and Professor Ian Brown (OII) spoke to Belgian public service broadcaster VRT News on the subject of media strategies used by radical groups online. This a video of the news segment.