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
Temporal Behavioural Analysis of Extremists on Social Media: A Machine Learning Based Approach
2021 Lutfi, S., Yasin, R., El Barachi, M., Oroumchian, F., Imene, A. and Mathew, S.S. Article
Public opinion is of critical importance to businesses and governments. It represents the collective opinion and prevalent views about a certain topic, policy, or issue. Extreme public opinion consists of extreme views held by individuals that advocate and spread radical ideas for the purpose of radicalizing others. while the proliferation of social media gives unprecedented reach and visibility and a platform for freely expressing public opinion, social media fora can also be used for spreading extreme views, manipulating public opinions, and radicalizing others. In this work, we leverage data mining and analytics techniques to study extreme public opinion expressed using social medial. A dataset of 259,904 tweets posted between 21/02/2016 and 01/05/2021 was collected in relation to extreme nationalism, hate speech, and supremacy. The collected data was analyzed using a variety to techniques, including sentiment analysis, named entity recognition, social circle analysis, and opinion leaders' identification, and results related to an American politician and an American right-wing activist were presented. The results obtained are very promising and open the door to the ability to monitor the evolution of extreme views and public opinion online.
Of Heroes and Enemies: Visual Polarization in the Propaganda Magazines of the Islamic State
2021 Aguilera-Carnerero, C. Chapter
Since the Islamic State proclaimed the Caliphate in 2014, the terrorist organization has been prominent due to the high-quality and efficient distribution of its propaganda, especially in the main online social media platforms. Two of their most popular vehicles for indoctrination and recruitment, the e-magazines Dabiq and Rumiyah, perfectly embody the philosophy of an organization constructed upon a multi-semiotic polarized discourse in which the antagonism between enemies and heroes is stated in many different ways. Using multimodal critical discourse analysis and visual framing as our main theoretical frameworks, this chapter analyses the semiotic structure of the images of foes and allies in the aforementioned magazines to show their essential role within the propaganda machine of the Islamic State, designed to achieve two main interconnected goals: the legitimation of their actions and, through this, the adherence of new fighters to their cause.
From cyberfascism to terrorism: On 4chan/pol/ culture and the transnational production of memetic violence
2021 Thorleifsson, C. Article
This article examines the fascists imaginaries that are produced and circulated at 4chan /pol/. Based on analysis of memes and posts collected during a 6-month period in 2019, it explores the diagnoses given by anonymous users to the imagining of the ultra-nation and dehumanized others, and the prescriptions for the remedies needed to bring about its saving. It argues that the cultural practices of /pol/ where fascist fantasies of white supremacy are spread fast and anonymously in a transnational milieu through transgressive play frames are particularly powerful for the amplification of the logic of an endangered ultra-nation that needs urgent violent defence to obtain racial palingenesis. As such cyberfascism co-produced in a leaderless network among users scattered across continents lends itself to calls for violent action against minority communities, including terrorism.
New forms of cultural nationalism? American and British Indians in the Trump and Brexit Twittersphere
2021 Leidig, E., Ganesh, B. and Bright, J. Article
Diaspora networks are one of the key, but often invisible, drivers in reinforcing long-distance nationalism towards the ‘homeland’ but simultaneously construct nationalist myths within their countries of residence. This article examines Indian diaspora supporters of Brexit and Trump in the United Kingdom and the United States who promote exclusionary nationalist imaginaries. Combining quantitative and qualitative approaches, it analyses British Indian and Indian American users that circulate radical right narratives within the Brexit and Trump Twittersphere. This article finds that these users express issues of concern pertinent to the radical right—for example, Islam and Muslims and the left-oriented political and media establishment—by employing civic nationalist discourse that promotes cultural nationalism. It sheds light on digital practices among diaspora actors who participate in the reinvigoration of exclusionary nationalist imaginaries of the Anglo-Western radical right.
Censoring Extremism: Influence of Online Restriction on Official Media Products of ISIS
2021 McMinimy, K., Winkler, C.K., Lokmanoglu, A.D. and Almahmoud, M. Article
Recognizing that militant, non-state groups utilize social media and online platforms to reach members, sympathizers, and potential recruits, state agencies and social media corporations now increasingly regulate access to accounts affiliated with such groups. Scholars examining deplatforming efforts have, to date, focused on the extent of audience loss after account restrictions and the identification of strategies for regrouping online followers on the same or different platforms over time. Left unexplored is if and how militant non-state groups adapt their official messaging strategies in response to platform restrictions despite continuing online access to them. To begin to fill that gap, this study compares ISIS’s 550 images displayed in the group’s official newsletter al-Naba 6 months before and after Europol’s November 2019 take-down of terrorist affiliated accounts, groups, channels, and bots on Telegram. It conducts a content analysis of images related to militaries and their outcomes, non-military activities and their outcomes, and presentational forms. The findings demonstrate that ISIS visually emphasizes its standard priming approach but shifts its agenda-setting strategy. While retaining some of its standard visual framing practices, the group also alters frames, particularly those related to images showing opposing militaries and military outcome.
'Fogging' and 'Flooding': Countering Extremist Mis/Disinformation After Terror Attacks
2021 Innes, M. Report
This report explores how and why mis/disinformation develops in the wake of terror attacks and the ways it is used by extremist groups to attempt to shape public understanding and political responses. These uses include extremist sympathisers engaging in information manipulation and obfuscation as part of their attempts to explain or justify the violence, as well as distorting and deceptive messaging designed to marginalize or stigmatize other social groups. Having presented evidence and insight about the construction of these messages, the discussion also looks at the policy and practice options in terms of ‘what works’ with regard to managing and mitigating any such messaging and the harms it seeks to induce.
The Incel Rebellion: The Rise of the Manosphere and the Virtual War Against Women
2021 Sugiura, L. Book
Emerging alongside the progression of women's rights in the twenty-first century is the development of the men's rights movement, parts of which have culminated into the contemporary 'manosphere.' Consisting of online communities that ascribe to misogynistic ideologies, which objectify, disparage, and dehumanise women, the manosphere also houses those who identify as involuntary celibate (incel).
Managing Risk: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, and Anti-Democratic Tendencies in the Digital Space
2021 Corbeil, A., and Rohozinski, R. Chapter
r/WatchRedditDie and the politics of reddit’s bans and quarantines
2021 DeCook, J.R. Article
The subreddit r/WatchRedditDie was founded in 2015 after reddit started implementing anti-harassment policies, and positions itself as a “fire alarm for reddit” meant to voyeuristically watch reddit’s impending (symbolic) death. As conversations around platform governance, moderation, and the role of platforms in controlling hate speech become more complex, r/WatchRedditDie and its affiliated subreddits are dedicated in maintaining a version of reddit tolerant of any and all speech, excluding other more vulnerable users from fully participating on the platform. r/WatchReditDie users advocate for no interference in their activities on the platform—meaning that although they rely on the reddit infrastructure to sustain their community, they aim to self-govern to uphold a libertarian and often manipulated interpretation of free expression. Responding to reddit’s evolving policies, they find community with one another by positioning the platform itself as their main antagonist. Through the social worlds framework, I examine the r/WatchRedditDie community’s responses to platform change, bringing up new questions about the possibility of shared governance between platform and user, as well as participatory culture’s promises and perils.
Duality of Technology Nexus in Combating Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Support of Gender Mainstreaming
2021 Vaseashta, A. Article
Gender equality plays a pivotal role in combating terrorism and violent extremist in the global arena. This chapter provides a brief overview of evolution, definition and overall goals of gender mainstreaming and analysis as a tool for understanding the unique needs of men and women to achieve gender equality at the institutional level by developing policies, implementing programs and reviewing security implications. Since the 21st-century battlefield is complex, kinetic and multi-dimensional, it requires a multi-disciplinary approach to find solutions to such issues. Using technological platforms, it is possible to supplement means to understand, foresight and address such complex dynamics. A focus on the duality of information technology and its interplay with social media for recruitment, preventing the spread of misinformation and even intercepting channels of communication, plays a vital role in combating terrorism and violent extremism. From a policy standpoint, offering education and training and providing easy access to information platforms along with other similar initiatives, will assist in gender equality and in development policies, programs and strategies.
Mechanisms of online radicalisation: how the internet affects the radicalisation of extreme-right lone actor terrorists
2021 Mølmen, G.N., and Ravndal, J.A. Article
How does the internet affect the radicalisation of extreme-right lone actor terrorists? In the absence of an established theoretical model, this article identifies six mechanisms seen as particularly relevant for explaining online radicalisation. Having first reviewed a larger set of relevant lone actor terrorists, the study traces these mechanisms in three selected cases where the internet was reportedly used extensively during radicalisation. The findings show that the internet primarily facilitated radicalisation through information provision, as well as amplifying group polarisation and legitimising extreme ideology and violence through echoing. In all three cases, radicalisation was also affected considerably by offline push-factors that through their presence made extreme online messages more impactful. The results challenge the view that offline interaction is necessary for radicalisation to occur but also the view that online influence itself is sufficient.
Mechanisms of online radicalisation: how the internet affects the radicalisation of extreme-right lone actor terrorists
2021 Mølmen, G.N. and Ravndal, J.A. Article
How does the internet affect the radicalisation of extreme-right lone actor terrorists? In the absence of an established theoretical model, this article identifies six mechanisms seen as particularly relevant for explaining online radicalisation. Having first reviewed a larger set of relevant lone actor terrorists, the study traces these mechanisms in three selected cases where the internet was reportedly used extensively during radicalisation. The findings show that the internet primarily facilitated radicalisation through information provision, as well as amplifying group polarisation and legitimising extreme ideology and violence through echoing. In all three cases, radicalisation was also affected considerably by offline push-factors that through their presence made extreme online messages more impactful. The results challenge the view that offline interaction is necessary for radicalisation to occur but also the view that online influence itself is sufficient.
Terror on the Internet: Comparing the United States and European Union Social Media Regulations to Prevent Terrorism
2021 Schneider, M. Article
In Part I, this Note will look at the European Union’s current Internet Forum and their proposed Terrorist Content Regulation. The proposed regulation focuses on countering terrorist content on social media by placing much of the burden on the social media companies themselves. Part II will focus on the Material Support of Foreign Terrorist Groups Statue: 18U.S.C.§ 2339(b).
Lone Actors in Digital Environments
2021 Thorleifsson, C. and Düker, J. Report
This paper aims to provide an overview of digital environments and draw insights from qualitative research and monitoring of RWE online subcultures that reveals a shift towards a post-organisational reality, whereby online structures and subcultural milieus could be equally important for inspiring violence as connections to groups in the physical world. 1 In order to understand this emerging trend, it is important to recognise the online communities that violent right-wing extremists (VRWE) use to produce a sense of belonging, spread dehumanising propaganda and promote acts of violence.
Digitalization and the Musical Mediation of Anti-Democratic Ideologies in Alt-Right Forums
2021 de Boise, S. Article
Popular music research has explored digital technologies’ potential for democratizing music consumption, distribution, and production. This article, however, focuses on the anti-democratic implications of digitalization for popular music by exploring discussions of music in 1,173 posts in 6 Alt-Right forums, from 2010–2018. It demonstrates that, first, owing to algorithmic architecture, interpretations of musical politics are mutually reinforcing in these spaces. Second, a large degree of musical “omnivorousness” in these forums is both a feature of contemporary far-right strategy and a consequence of digitalization. Third, by articulating “reactionary democratic” principles through music criticism, these movements more easily evade regulation.
Assessing the Extent and Types of Hate Speech in Fringe Communities: A Case Study of Alt-Right Communities on 8chan, 4chan, and Reddit
2021 Rieger, D., Kümpel, A. S., Wich, M., Kiening, T., and Groh, G. Article
Recent right-wing extremist terrorists were active in online fringe communities connected to the alt-right movement. Although these are commonly considered as distinctly hateful, racist, and misogynistic, the prevalence of hate speech in these communities has not been comprehensively investigated yet, particularly regarding more implicit and covert forms of hate. This study exploratively investigates the extent, nature, and clusters of different forms of hate speech in political fringe communities on Reddit, 4chan, and 8chan. To do so, a manual quantitative content analysis of user comments (N=6,000) was combined with an automated topic modeling approach. The findings of the study not only show that hate is prevalent in all three communities (24% of comments contained explicit or implicit hate speech), but also provide insights into common types of hate speech expression, targets, and differences between the studied communities.
Remember your brothers
2021 Previtali, G. Chapter
Since the declaration of the Caliphate in 2014, the Islamic State became a prominent protagonism of contemporary political debate, especially for its unprecedented media flow. Moving from an already vast literature on the topic, the chapter will analyze the video-testaments produced by IS as an internal propaganda format, able to build a sense of community between the fighters and to inspire new generations to join the jihadi effort. After connecting this visual practice with its immediate predecessor (al-Qaeda martyrs’ video-testaments), the chapter will provide an in-depth analysis of these videos, stressing the role of memory and inspiration, as well as their ability to produce a certain narrative of what it means to be a true Muslim.
Crouching shahid, hidden jihad: mapping the online propaganda campaign of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham-affiliated Ebaa News Agency
2021 Lakomy, M. Article
The primary objective of this paper is to map the online presence of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s (HTS) media branch – Ebaa News Agency (ENA) – on the surface web. It also measures three years of propaganda output of the group and its viewership, as well as outlines the thematic landscape of its productions based on the content analysis of a sample. It argues that Ebaa’s messaging pattern constitutes a peculiar mixture of opposing priorities. It paid a great deal of attention to portraying itself as an independent news agency that has nothing to do with violent terrorist organizations (VEOs). In effect, its productions are easily available on the surface web. A closer look, however, proves that since 2017 ENA has been dedicated to supporting HTS’s radical Islamist agenda. This paper provides evidence of this. Moreover, Ebaa adopted a two-vector distribution strategy of its productions, composed of standalone websites and Telegram channels. In this context, the output of this media cell appears to be quite impressive. Between 2017 and 2020, it was capable of releasing more than 13,000 pieces of propaganda on its websites. At the same time, however, their viewership was lower than initially expected.
Exploring the role of the Internet in radicalisation and offending of convicted extremists
2021 Kenyon, J., Binder, J. and Baker-Beall, C. Report
This report presents findings from a quantitative study, which aimed to explore the role of the Internet in radicalisation and offending of 235 convicted extremists in England and Wales.
An influencer-based approach to understanding radical right viral tweets
2021 Sprejer, L., Margetts, H., Oliveira, K., O'Sullivan, D. and Vidgen, B. Article
Radical right influencers routinely use social media to spread highly divisive, disruptive and anti-democratic messages. Assessing and countering the challenge that such content poses is crucial for ensuring that online spaces remain open, safe and accessible. Previous work has paid little attention to understanding factors associated with radical right content that goes viral. We investigate this issue with a new dataset (ROT) which provides insight into the content, engagement and followership of a set of 35 radical right influencers. It includes over 50,000 original entries and over 40 million retweets, quotes, replies and mentions. We use a multilevel model to measure engagement with tweets, which are nested in each influencer. We show that it is crucial to account for the influencer-level structure, and find evidence of the importance of both influencer- and content-level factors, including the number of followers each influencer has, the type of content (original posts, quotes and replies), the length and toxicity of content, and whether influencers request retweets. We make ROT available for other researchers to use.
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