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
White Supremacists, Oppositional Culture and the World Wide Web
2005 Adams, J. and Roscigno, V.J. Journal
Over the previous decade, white supremacist organizations have tapped into the ever emerging possibilities offered by the World Wide Web. Drawing from prior sociological work that has examined this medium and its uses by white supremacist organizations, this article advances the understanding of recruitment, identity and action by providing a synthesis of interpretive and more systematic analyses of thematic content, structure and associations within white supremacist discourse. Analyses, which rely on TextAnalyst, highlight semantic networks of thematic content from principal white supremacist websites, and delineate patterns and thematic associations relative to the three requisites of social movement culture denoted in recent research - namely identity, interpretational framing of cause and effect, and political efficacy. Our results suggest that nationalism, religion and definitions of responsible citizenship are interwoven with race to create a sense of collective identity for these groups, their members and potential recruits. Moreover, interpretative frameworks that simultaneously identify threatening social issues and provide corresponding recommendations for social action are employed. Importantly, and relative to prior work, results how how the interpretation of problems, their alleged causes and the call to action are systematically linked. We conclude by discussing the framing of white supremacy issues, the organizations' potential for recruitment, and how a relatively new communication medium, the Internet, has been cheaply and efficiently integrated into the white supremacist repertoire. Broader implications for social movement theory are also explored.
Mitigating the Impact of Media Reporting of Terrorism: Case Study of the #BringBackOurGirls Campaign
2020 Adebiyi, K. Report
This report looks at journalism and social media reporting in Nigeria. The author raises key implications in journalistic reporting by looking at the 2014 #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign. This study importantly takes both a local and a global perspective on Nigeria’s media reporting.

This report is part of a wider project, led by the International Centre for Counter- Terrorism (ICCT) – the Hague, and funded by the EU Devco on “Mitigating the Impact of Media Reporting of Terrorism”. This project aims to produce evidence-based guidance and capacity building outputs based on original, context-sensitive research into the risks and opportunities in media reporting of terrorism and terrorist incidents. The role of media reporting on terrorism has been under investigated and is an underutilised dimension of a holistic counter-terrorism strategy. How the media reports on terrorism has the potential to impact counter-terrorism (CT) perspective positively or negatively.
One Apostate Run Over, Hundreds Repented: Excess, Unthinkability, and Infographics from the War with I.S.I.S.
2018 Adelman, R.A. Journal
Compared to the more spectacular elements of its media repertoire—the slick recruitment campaigns on social media, the artfully composed battlefield footage, the grisly executions—I.S.I.S.’s infographics may seem dull, even trivial. Indeed, these data visualizations have gone largely unremarked, eliciting more bemusement than serious consideration. Against the tendency to discount these images, however, I argue that when I.S.I.S. turns toward charts and diagrams to represent its operations, it launches a stealthy but substantial epistemological challenge to media outlets that depict it as backward and irrational and rely on command of information as an index of Western power. Comparing infographics produced about I.S.I.S. and those produced by the group, I demonstrate that, despite their obvious differences, both types of infographics evince common preoccupations. Like Western news sources, I.S.I.S. creates infographics to map attacks, plot territorial gains, tally and categorize casualties, and track the types of weapons deployed. News media and I.S.I.S. infographics diverge primarily in their affective resonance, as similar information signifies in radically different ways. Ultimately, by producing and circulating these infographics, I.S.I.S. renders simultaneously renders itself more and less intelligible to outsiders: encapsulating its story while confounding prevailing representations as it weaponizes information.
Using KNN and SVM Based One-Class Classifier for Detecting Online Radicalization on Twitter
2015 Agarwal, S. and Sureka, A. Chapter
Twitter is the largest and most popular micro-blogging website on Internet. Due to low publication barrier, anonymity and wide penetration, Twitter has become an easy target or platform for extremists to disseminate their ideologies and opinions by posting hate and extremism promoting tweets. Millions of tweets are posted on Twitter everyday and it is practically impossible for Twitter moderators or an intelligence and security analyst to manually identify such tweets, users and communities. However, automatic classification of tweets into pre-defined categories is a non-trivial problem problem due to short text of the tweet (the maximum length of a tweet can be 140 characters) and noisy content (incorrect grammar, spelling mistakes, presence of standard and non-standard abbreviations and slang). We frame the problem of hate and extremism promoting tweet detection as a one-class or unary-class categorization problem by learning a statistical model from a training set containing only the objects of one class . We propose several linguistic features such as presence of war, religious, negative emotions and offensive terms to discriminate hate and extremism promoting tweets from other tweets. We employ a single-class SVM and KNN algorithm for one-class classification task. We conduct a case-study on Jihad, perform a characterization study of the tweets and measure the precision and recall of the machine-learning based classifier. Experimental results on large and real-world dataset demonstrate that the proposed approach is effective with F-score of 0.60 and 0.83 for the KNN and SVM classifier respectively.
Topic-Specific YouTube Crawling to Detect Online Radicalization
2015 Agarwal, S. and Sureka, A. Article
Online video sharing platforms such as YouTube contains several videos and users promoting hate and extremism. Due to low barrier to publication and anonymity, YouTube is misused as a platform by some users and communities to post negative videos disseminating hatred against a particular religion, country or person. We formulate the problem of identification of such malicious videos as a search problem and present a focused-crawler based approach consisting of various components performing several tasks: search strategy or algorithm, node similarity computation metric, learning from exemplary profiles serving as training data, stopping criterion, node classifier and queue manager. We implement two versions of the focused crawler: best-first search and shark search. We conduct a series of experiments by varying the seed, number of n-grams in the language model based comparer, similarity threshold for the classifier and present the results of the experiments using standard Information Retrieval metrics such as precision, recall and F-measure. The accuracy of the proposed solution on the sample dataset is 69% and 74% for the best-first and shark search respectively. We perform characterization study (by manual and visual inspection) of the anti-India hate and extremism promoting videos retrieved by the focused crawler based on terms present in the title of the videos, YouTube category, average length of videos, content focus and target audience. We present the result of applying Social Network Analysis based measures to extract communities and identify core and influential users.
Analyzing predisposing, precipitating, and perpetuating factors of militancy through declassified interrogation summaries: A case study
2020 Aggarwal, N.K. Article
Researchers and policymakers have supported a public health approach to countering violent extremism throughout the War on Terror. However, barriers to obtaining primary data include concerns from minority groups about stigmatization, the ethics of harming research subjects by exposing them to violent content, and restrictions on researchers from institutions and governments. Textual analyses of declassified documents from government agencies may overcome these barriers. This article contributes a method for analyzing the predisposing, precipitating, and perpetuating factors of terrorism through open source texts. This method is applied to FBI interrogation summaries of Al Qaeda terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab who attempted an attack aboard an airplane in 2009. This analysis shows that consuming militant content online led him to narrow his social relationships offline to extremists and foster identifications with subjugated Muslims around the world. After deciding to wage militancy, loyalty to Al Qaeda members, swearing allegiance to and obeying group leaders, and interpreting religious texts militantly perpetuated violent activities. Such work can advance empirical work on militant behavior to develop interventions.
Mapping right-wing extremism in Victoria: Applying a gender lens to develop prevention and deradicalisation approaches
2020 Agius, C., Cook, K., Nicholas, L., Ahmed, A., bin Jehangir, H., Safa, N., Hardwick, T. and Clark, S. Report
This project aims to map right-wing extremism in Victoria through the lens of gender. It begins from the premise that there is an underexplored connection between antifeminist sentiment and far-right extremist sentiment. It does this by focusing on select Victorian-based online groups that have an anti-feminist and far-right profile. The project also works with stakeholders who work in the areas of gender and family violence, to gain insight into their practices and experiences.
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.
Detection And Classification Of Social Media Based Extremist Affiliations Using Sentiment Analysis Techniques
2019 Ahmad, S., Asghar, M. Z., Alotaibi, F. M. and Awan, I. Article
Identification and classification of extremist-related tweets is a hot issue. Extremist gangs have been involved in using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter for propagating their ideology and recruitment of individuals. This work aims at proposing a terrorism-related content analysis framework with the focus on classifying tweets into extremist and non-extremist classes. Based on user-generated social media posts on Twitter, we develop a tweet classifcation system using deep learning-based sentiment analysis techniques to classify the tweets as extremist or non-extremist. The experimental results are encouraging and provide a gateway for future researchers.
A War of Keywords: How Extremists are Exploiting the Internet and What to do About It
2016 Ahmed, M. and George, FL. Report
This research centred on three layers of analysis: Firstly, understanding
the keywords, or search terms, people use to
find information on Google; secondly, looking at the data
demonstrating links going into a selection of known extremist
websites in order to understand their relationships
with other websites;
and thirdly, analysing the content of
Google search results pages to understand the placement of extremist and counter-narrative content within search results for relevant keywords. The areas of analysis represent
important aspects related to the broader internet and,
when combined, gave the opportunity to get a snapshot of
extremist content beyond the realm of social media.

The results produced by this multi-faceted approach provide
an overview of extremist content online and shed
much-needed light on the impact and effectiveness of online
counter-narrative efforts.
Wie Extrem ist die Rechte in Europa? Untersuchung von Überschneidungen in der deutschen Rechtsaußenszene auf Twitter
2020 Ahmed, R. and Pisoiu, D. VOX-Pol Publication
Ziel dieser Arbeit ist es, die Überschneidungen in der Rechtsaußenszene auf Twitter zu ermitteln und insbesondere festzustellen, inwieweit verschiedene Gruppen in der Szene tatsächlich auf die gleiche Weise über dieselben Themen sprechen, trotz offensichtlicher Unterschiede im Tonfall und den zugrunde liegenden Ideologien. Wir verwenden einen Mischmethodenansatz: Zunächst wollen wir einen oberflächlichen Einblick in die extrem rechte Szene auf Twitter in ganz Europa gewinnen, und dann führen wir bei drei ausgewählten Gruppen in Deutschland eine detaillierte Frame-Analyse aus, um die impliziten und expliziten Überschneidungen zwischen ihnen zu bestimmen und so die quantitativen Angaben zu ergänzen, damit die Bedeutung detailliert analysiert werden kann.
How Extreme Is The European Far Right? Investigating Overlaps in the German Far-Right Scene on Twitter
2019 Ahmed, R. and Pisoiu, D. VOX-Pol Publication
The aim of the report is to determine the overlaps apparent in the far-right scene on Twitter, and specifically, to ascertain the extent to which different groups on the scene are indeed talking about the same issues in the same way, in spite of apparent differences in tone and underlying ideologies. The authors utilise a mixed-methods approach: first, gaining a cursory insight into the extreme right-wing scene on Twitter across Europe; and then applying a detailed frame analysis to three selected groups in Germany to determine the implicit and explicit overlaps between them, thus complementing the quantitative findings to offer an in-depth analysis of meaning.
Uniting the far right: how the far-right extremist, New Right, and populist frames overlap on Twitter – a German case study
2020 Ahmed, R. and Pisoiu, D. VOX-Pol Publication
Recent elections in Europe have demonstrated a steady rise in the success of right-wing populist parties. While advancing an anti-immigration agenda, these parties have been adamant to distance themselves from ‘right-wing extremism’. This article analyses a sample of tweets collected from the Twitter accounts of the German AfD, Identitarian Movement and the Autonomous Nationalists by employing frame analysis. We conclude that the frames of far-right actors classified as extremist, New Right, and populist in fact converge and we discuss our findings in the context of related case studies in other European countries.
Social media and counterterrorism strategy
2015 Aistrope, T. Journal
With the rise of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the issue of domestic radicalisation has taken on renewed significance for Western democracies. In particular, attention has been drawn to the potency of ISIS engagement on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Several governments have emphasised the importance of online programs aimed at undermining ISIS recruitment, including the use of state-run accounts on a variety of social media platforms to respond directly to ISIS messaging. This article assesses the viability of online counter-radicalisation by examining the effectiveness of similar programs at the US State Department over the last decade. The article argues that governments attempting to counter online radicalisation of their domestic populations must take seriously the significant shortcomings of these State Department programs. The most relevant issue in this regard is the recurring problem of credibility, when the authenticity of government information is undercut by the realities of foreign policy practice, and existing perceptions of hypocrisy and duplicity are reinforced in target audiences.
The Stream: Are the Roots of Radicalisation Online?
2014 Al Jazeera Video
Now on Twitter, Facebook: Jihadi Media Foundation Fursan Al-Balagh
2013 Al-Hadj, M. Report
Media foundations connected to jihadi groups and jihad-supporting organizations, which once released their productions – videos, statements, and more – over jihadi forums, have turned to social media websites, mainly Facebook and Twitter, because of these forums' inability to provide reliable means for communication, interaction, and publication due to constant and often lengthy disruption of their online presence. This report discusses official and unofficial jihadi media foundations' presence on Facebook and Twitter, and identifies the foundations' accounts and provide background information regarding their affiliation and activities.
Mobilisation and Violence in the New Media Ecology: the Dua Khalil Aswad and Camilia Shehata Cases
2012 Al-Lamia, M., Hoskins, A. and O'Loughlin, B. Article
This article examines two cases in which political groups sought to harness the new media ecology to mobilise and justify acts of violence to public audiences and to supporters. In each case, a woman's suffering is presented and instrumentalised. However, the new media ecology offers an increasingly irregular economy of media modulation: digital footage may emerge today, in a year or never, and it may emerge anywhere to anyone. The cases analysed here allow for reflection on the tension between contingency and intentionality as that irregular economy brings uncertainty for the political actors involved. Dua Khalil Aswad, an Iraqi teenager of the Yazidi faith, was stoned to death by a Yazidi mob consisting of tens of men, mostly her relatives. One Yazidi uploaded a film of the killing. This led to violent reprisals against the Yazidis. Camilia Shehata is a young Coptic Egyptian who, after allegedly converting to Islam, was returned to her church with the help of Egyptian security forces and kept in hiding despite public protests. Extremists in Iraq and Egypt seized on the Shehata case to justify violence against Christians. In both instances, the irregular emergence of digital content and its remediation through these media ecologies enabled distributed agency in ways that empowered and confounded states, terrorists and citizens.
Turning Away From the Truth: Critique Of Hamami
2013 Al-Muhajir, A.H. Lecture
Demystifying the Abu Mansur Saga
Video Games, Terrorism, and ISIS’s Jihad 3.0
2016 Al-Raqi, A. Journal
This study discusses different media strategies followed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). In particular, the study attempts to understand the way ISIS’s video game that is called “Salil al-Sawarem” (The Clanging of the Swords) has been received by the online Arab public. The article argues that the goal behind making and releasing the video game was to gain publicity and attract attention to the group, and the general target was young people. The main technique used by ISIS is what I call “troll, flame, and engage.” The results indicate that the majority of comments are against ISIS and its game, though most of the top ten videos are favorable towards the group. The sectarian dimension between Sunnis and Shiites is highly emphasized in the online exchanges, and YouTube remains an active social networking site that is used by ISIS followers and sympathizers to promote the group and recruit others.
Islam on Youtube: Online Debates, Protests, and Extremism
2017 Al-Rawi, A. Book
This book offers empirical insight into the way Muslims reacted online towards various controversial issues related to Islam. The book examines four cases studies: The Muhammed’s cartoons, the burning of the Quran controversies, Fitna and the Innocence of Muslims’ films. The issues of online religion, social movements and extremism are discussed, as many of the cases in question created both uproar and unity among many YouTubers. These case studies – in some instances – led to the expression of extremist views by some users, and the volume argues that they helped contribute to the growth of extremism due to the utilization of these events by some terrorist groups in order to recruit new members. In the concluding chapter, social network and sentiment analyses are presented in order to investigate all the collected comments and videos, while a critical discussion of freedom of expression and hate speech is offered, with special regards to the growing online influence of far right groups and their role in on-going YouTube debates.