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 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.


Full Listing

Mobilizing against Islam on social media: hyperlink networking among European far-right extra-parliamentary Facebook groups
2022 Törnberg, A. and Nissen, A. Article
The far right is notoriously effective in its use of digital media to mobilize people and to build a sense of collective identity around oppositional cultures. Yet, while research has begun to explore far-right groups’ social media hyperlinking activities, relatively little is known about the purposes and communicative functions of this form of communication. By combining social network analysis and qualitative content analysis on Facebook data obtained from 17 PEGIDA and Generation Identity Facebook pages in the period around the so-called ‘refugee crisis’ (2015–2017), this exploratory study investigates the linked source types and their purposes. We find that the groups predominantly link to mainstream media, far-right media and far-right non-institutional groups. While there are great overlaps in the communicative functions and purposes of the links for the two networks, the PEGIDA groups mainly focus on the promotion of political issues, especially around the opposition to third-country (Muslim) immigration, while the GI groups use them for self-promotional purposes. These differences are largely explainable by the groups’ adverse (online) mobilization aims.
The Terror Times: The Depth and Breadth of the Islamic State Alternative News Outlet Ecosystem Online
2022 Ayad, M., Khan, N. and al-Tamimi, A. Report
This report highlights the networks, supporters, and the platforms of Islamic State disinformation disseminators, focusing on popular social media platforms as well as encrypted messaging applications. These disinformation networks are creating self-branded media outlets with followers in the tens of thousands, and often with innocuous names like “Global Happenings,” “DRIL” and “Media Center,” to evade moderation and takedowns. These same networks use coded language and a codebook of emojis to spread Islamic State “news” to other networks of supporters, who similarly evade moderation. These ‘alternative news outlets’ are trying to outcompete narratives publicized by government officials as well as independent mainstream media and individual journalists – groups that were also heavily targeted by Islamic State.
Policy Brief: From Pilots to Practice: Risk-informed utilization of online data for preventing violent extremism and addressing hate speech
2022 United Nations Development Programme Policy
The Policy Brief and accompanying Guidance Note on utilizing online data to prevent violent extremism and hate speech apply the lessons learned from UNDP practitioners working on Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) across seven country offices by undertaking pilot projects that collect, analyse and apply online data to their programming. The Policy Brief outlines the major structural, technical, and ethical challenges faced by the practitioners, analyses relevant existing policy frameworks, and explores the potential of human rights-compliant data driven methods to inform PVE programming by offering policy considerations and recommendations to decision-makers. The Guidance Note offers an overview of key processes, tools, and resources for practitioners to consider when utilizing online data for PVE and addressing hate speech. It promotes risk management as an inherently enabling process for enhancing the evidence base for PVE programming.
Far-Right ‘Reactions’: a comparison of Australian and Canadian far-right extremist groups on Facebook
2022 Hutchinson, J. and Droogan, J. Article
Little is known about which features of Facebook’s interface appeal to users of far-right extremist groups, how such features may influence a user’s interpretation of far-right extremist themes and narratives, and how this is being experienced across various nations. This paper looks at why certain ‘Reactions’ appealed to users in Australian and Canadian far-right groups on Facebook, and how these ‘Reactions’ may have characterized user decisions during their interaction with far-right extremist themes and narratives. A mixed methods approach has been used to conduct a cross-national comparative analysis of three years of ‘Reaction’ use across 59 Australian and Canadian far-right extremist groups on Facebook (2016–2019). The level of user engagement with administrator posts was assessed using ‘Reactions’ and identified themes and narratives that generated the most user engagement specific to six ‘Reactions’ ( ‘Love’, ‘Haha’, ‘Wow’, ‘Sad’, ‘Angry’ and ‘Thankful’). This was paired with an in-depth qualitative analysis of the themes and narratives that attracted the most user engagement specific to two popular ‘Reactions’ used over time ( ‘Angry’ and ‘Love’). Results highlight ‘Angry’ and ‘Love’ as the two most popular ‘Reactions’ assigned to in-group-out-group themes and narratives, with ‘ algorithms having propelled their partnership in these groups.
The Incelosphere: Exposing pathways into incel communities and the harms they pose to women and children
2022 The Center for Countering Digital Hate Report
This new report, a product of the Center for Countering Digital Hate’s new Quant Lab, is a systematic study of over a million posts over the past eighteen months on the world’s leading incels forum. By stripping language down to mathematics, we can eke out trends that provide real insight into incel communities. Our Quant Lab researchers studied an active community with thousands of members, some more active than others, that attracts a wider audience who make millions of visits a month. Analysis of their discourse shows this core group poses a clear and present danger to women, other young men, and reveals an emerging threat to our children.
Entitlement, Victimhood, and Hate: A Digital Ethnography of the Canadian Right-Wing Social Media Landscape
2022 Mack, A.C. PhD Thesis
This dissertation is, at its core, an interrogation of white masculinity in Canada’s right-wing spaces. While my interlocutors spent a great deal of time discussing others, namely immigrants, globalist elites, and feminists, through their discourse, they revealed a lot more about themselves and their perceived victimhood (Berbrier, 2000). This victimhood is derived from what Hage (2000) refers to as the white nation fantasy, wherein white people believe they have the right to rule, control, and dominate in their countries. They are entitled to this by virtue of their whiteness and its perceived superiority, and thus feel justified in their harmful behaviour (Essed & Muhr, 2018). Yet, as I show throughout each chapter, that right is challenged time and time again by immigration, feminism, and racial justice, which triggers a sense of aggrieved entitlement (Manne, 2019) and backlash (Boyd, 2004; Braithwaite, 2004). Moreover, I demonstrate that this is not only a white fantasy, but rather a white male fantasy. While the white nation fantasy relies on white supremacy, the white male nation fantasy interweaves notions of male supremacism wherein not only are people of colour inferior, so too are women – including white ones who do not fall in line. I draw on bell hook’s conception of “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy” to show how their discourse, while explicitly racist and nativist (Schrag, 2010), upholds and is in turn upheld by both capitalism and patriarchy. Thus, while chapters on hockey, promiscuous women, and a “Sad Keanu” meme may seem disparate and disjointed, they all connect back to these notions of supremacism, entitlement, and ultimately victimhood.
The Network Illusion: How a Network-Centric Special Operations Culture Impedes Strategic Effect
2022 McCab, P. (Ed.) Book
America has often developed very impressive methods of waging war and protecting strategic interests, but all too often, its senior leaders are too optimistic about how much those methods can actually accomplish. The heart of U.S. national security challenges today is an ongoing erosion of American influence globally. What the U.S. now requires is a modification of older ideas in ways appropriate for the modern age. The works contained in this edited volume are signposts of a future that America still has time to choose wherein its efforts to safeguard its people and protect its interests can be remade and reforged in ways appropriate and successful in this era of dazzling technologies and enormous global change.
The Impact of the Internet and Cyberspace on the Rise in Terrorist Attacks Across the US and Europe
2022 Rees, J. and Montasari, R. Chapter
This chapter critically analyses the impact of the Internet and associated technology on the rise in terrorist attacks across the US and Europe over the last two decades. To this end, the chapter will be focusing on jihadists’ use of the Internet, yet comparisons will also be made with the radical right. Although there exist certainly differences between the groups, there are also similarities between them, and, in turn, this chapter will address these movements as a collective. The jihadist terrorist organisations that will be analysed in this chapter will include Al-Qaeda and ISIS. The findings reveal that although the Internet has been linked to the preparation and execution of attacks, as this chapter will explore, it is difficult to establish direct cause and effect associations between the Internet and the rise in attacks in Europe and the US.
From Gaming to Hating: Extreme-Right Ideological Indoctrination and Mobilization for Violence of Children on Online Gaming Platforms
2022 Koehler, D., Fiebig, V. and Jugl, I. Article
As a consequence of numerous extreme-right terror attacks in which the perpetrators posted their manifestos and attack life streams on online platforms adjacent to the video gaming community, as well as radicalized within that environment to a significant degree (e.g., Christchurch, New Zealand; Halle, Germany), increasing scholarly and policymaker interest is focusing on far-right radicalization and recruitment within online video game environments. Yet little empirical insights exist about the specific engagement between right-wing extremists and their potential recruits on these platforms. This study presents findings from a qualitative exploration of German police-investigation files for two children who radicalized on gaming platforms to become involved in extreme-right criminal behavior, including the plotting of a terrorist attack. The study demonstrates the importance of online and offline factor interaction, especially regarding the role of familiar criminogenic factors, as well as the social–emotional bonding between potential recruits and extremist gamers created through shared gaming experiences that lead to high-intensity extremist radicalization aimed at offline behavioral changes. The study did not find evidence for strategic organizational far-right recruitment campaigns, but rather multidirectional social-networking processes which were also initiated by the potential recruits.
The Impact of the Internet and Cyberspace on the Rise in Terrorist Attacks Across the US and Europe
2022 Rees, J. and Montasari, R. Chapter
This chapter critically analyses the impact of the Internet and associated technology on the rise in terrorist attacks across the US and Europe over the last two decades. To this end, the chapter will be focusing on jihadists’ use of the Internet, yet comparisons will also be made with the radical right. Although there exist certainly differences between the groups, there are also similarities between them, and, in turn, this chapter will address these movements as a collective. The jihadist terrorist organisations that will be analysed in this chapter will include Al-Qaeda and ISIS. The findings reveal that although the Internet has been linked to the preparation and execution of attacks, as this chapter will explore, it is difficult to establish direct cause and effect associations between the Internet and the rise in attacks in Europe and the US.
Linking Terrorist Network Structure to Lethality: Algorithms and Analysis of Al Qaeda and ISIS
2022 Chen, Y., Gao, C., Gartenstein-Ross, D., Greene, K.T., Kalif, K., Kraus, S., Parisi, F., Pulice, C., Subasic, A. and Subrahmanian, V.S. Article
Without measures of the lethality of terrorist networks, it is very difficult to assess if capturing or killing a terrorist is effective. We present the predictive lethality analysis of terrorist organization () algorithm, which merges machine learning with techniques from graph theory and social network analysis to predict the number of attacks that a terrorist network will carry out based on a network structure alone. We show that is highly accurate on two novel datasets, which cover Al Qaeda (AQ) and the Islamic State (ISIS). Using both machine learning and statistical methods, we show that the most significant macrofeatures for predicting AQ’s lethality are related to their public communications (PCs) and logistical subnetworks, while the leadership and operational subnetworks are most impactful for predicting ISISs lethality. Across both groups, the average degree and the diameters of the strongly connected components (SCCs) within these networks are strongly linked with lethality.
Understanding the role of digital media in female participation in terrorism: the case of Bangladesh
2022 Parvez, S. and Hastings, J.V. Article
Notwithstanding the discernable participation of women in terrorist groups, empirical research on women in terrorism is very scant in Bangladesh. To fill this gap, our article examines women’s involvement in terrorism by analyzing the life stories of dozens of Bangladeshi women terrorists. We use a terrorist lifecycle approach to understand the role of digital media in female participation, particularly in terms of when in the lifecycle digital media becomes important, and in terms of how digital media interacts with other factors to shape women’s involvement in terrorist organizations. After analyzing female profiles and their socio-demographic traits, we provide an in-depth analysis of three female terrorist lifecycles. An analysis of the profiles of Bangladeshi terrorists who use digital media reveals that women were more likely to use digital media than men in the recruitment phase. The in-depth case studies of three female terrorist profiles find that multiple and different factors impact their terrorist life cycles. Social networks – families and friends – typically play a role in individuals’ decision to become involved and further engagement in terrorism. Specifically, digital media allows women to expand their social interactions beyond what is possible in person, thus allowing for virtual pathways into terrorism.
How does language influence the radicalisation process? A systematic review of research exploring online extremist communication and discussion
2022 Williams, T.J.V. and Tzani, C. Article
Contemporary research has highlighted the steady rise of individuals becoming radicalised via exposure to extremist discussion on the internet, with the ease of communication with other users that the internet provides playing a major role in the radicalisation process of these individuals. The aim of the present systematic review was to explore recent research into the utilisation of language in extremist cyberspaces and how it may influence the radicalisation process. The findings suggest that there are five prominent linguistical behaviours adopted by extremists online: Algorithmic, Conflict, Hate, Positive, and Recruitment. The results demonstrate that the main purpose of extremist language online is to shape the perceptions of users to see their associated group in positive regard, while simultaneously negatively framing outgroup opposition. This is then followed by encouraging conflict against the promoted ideologies’ perceived enemies. Limitations, future research, and implications are discussed in detail.
Rethinking Social Media and Extremism
2022 Leitch, S. and Pickering, P. (Eds) Book
Terrorism, global pandemics, climate change, wars and all the major threats of our age have been targets of online extremism. The same social media occupying the heartland of our social world leaves us vulnerable to cybercrime, electoral fraud and the ‘fake news’ fuelling the rise of far-right violence and hate speech. In the face of widespread calls for action, governments struggle to reform legal and regulatory frameworks designed for an analogue age. And what of our rights as citizens? As politicians and lawyers run to catch up to the future as it disappears over the horizon, who guarantees our right to free speech, to free and fair elections, to play video games, to surf the Net, to believe ‘fake news’?

Rethinking Social Media and Extremism offers a broad range of perspectives on violent extremism online and how to stop it. As one major crisis follows another and a global pandemic accelerates our turn to digital technologies, attending to the issues raised in this book becomes ever more urgent.
Two Sides of the Same Coin? A Largescale Comparative Analysis of Extreme Right and Jihadi Online Text(s)
2022 Mehran, W., Herron, S., Miller, B., Lemieux, A.F. and Conway, M. Article
This article describes and discusses a comparative semiotic analysis of online text collected from eight extreme right websites and four violent jihadi groups’ online magazines. The two datasets, which comprise just over 1 million words each, were analyzed using LIWC software. The core issues explored were the shared and different linguistic patterns used among extreme right and violent jihadi extremists and the emotional, cognitive, psychological, and social dimensions of the online textual discourses of each ideological grouping and what function these played in their overall political rhetoric. The findings bring to light some nuanced differences and similarities in the cognitive, social, psychological, and temporal dimensions of language used by each. For example, while both types of ideological text showed the same level of certainty in arguments as a cognitive process, the language depicting social and emotional processes, and religion were used more often by the violent jihadi extremists (VJEs) than the extreme right. The findings also point to the fact that VJEs were more likely than right-wing extremists to discuss the future and promise change as motivational incentives.
Rethinking Online Radicalization
2022 Whittaker, J. Article
This article seeks to re-ontologize online radicalization. Individuals becoming terrorists after being exposed to online content have become a prescient concern for academics, policy makers, and journalists. Existing theoretical contributions to the concept have assumed that there are two ontological domains—online and offline—that can be meaningfully separated. This article will draw from several arguments from other fields which critique this position; the contemporary information environment enmeshes the two inseparably. This argument is then advanced to demonstrate that online radicalization is a redundant concept by drawing on empirical research as well as recent case studies of terrorism. Instead, scholars should consider holistic theories which account for a range of other factors beyond online communication technologies.
From Traits to Threats - Identification of Personality Traits for Individuals at Risk of Radicalisation on Social Media
2022 Underhaug, L.M. MA Thesis
This Thesis contributes by proposing a method for identifying users believed to be at risk of radicalisation on social media, by utilising the social media networks of already radicalised individuals and a set of indicators derived from related work on radicalisation. In addition, this Thesis provides a new to the field, in-depth analysis of the personality traits of Twitter users at risk of radicalisation and how they may differ from ordinary users. The results show that the proposed data collection and annotation scheme is able to successfully identify individuals at risk of radicalisation, yielding an inter-annotator agreement, measured by Cohen's Kappa, of 0.83. The analysis of the predicted personality traits shows that users at risk of radicalisation have common profiles for agreeableness and conscientiousness. When comparing the predicted traits to that of ordinary, non-radical Twitter users, the predictions show a marginal difference in distribution for agreeableness, openness, and conscientiousness, indicating a certain difference in personality between the two domains.
Breaking the Building Blocks of Hate: A Case Study of Minecraft Servers
2022 Kowert, R., Botelho, A. and Newhouse, A. Report
The online game Minecraft, owned by Microsoft, has amassed 141 million active users since it was launched in 2011. It is used in school communities, among friend groups and even has been employed by the U.N. Despite its ubiquity as an online space, little has been reported on how hate and harassment manifest in Minecraft, as well as how it performs content moderation. To fill this research gap, Take This, ADL and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, in collaboration with GamerSafer, analyzed hate and harassment in Minecraft based on anonymized data from January 1st to March 30th, 2022 consensually provided from three private Minecraft servers (no other data was gathered from the servers except the anonymized chat and report logs used in this study). While this analysis is not representative of how all Minecraft spaces function, it is a crucial step in understanding how important online gaming spaces operate, the form that hate takes in these spaces, and whether content moderation can mitigate hate.
How online interaction radicalises while group involvement restrains: a case study of Action Zealandia from 2019 to 2021
2022 Halpin, J. and Wilson, C. Article
Scholars have long seen radicalisation as a predominantly group based phenomenon, occurring largely through ‘real world,’ in person interaction. By contrast, the internet is seen as playing only a limited ‘facilitating’ role in radicalising people to violence. However, a series of attacks by far right extremists over the past decade has demonstrated that this perspective is less accurate than it once was. Almost none of these terrorists were members of extremist groups and had only engaged with other extremists on the internet. In this article, we examine the relative importance of face-to-face group interaction and physically isolated internet-based radicalization in driving individuals towards extremist violence. We do so through a detailed case study of Action Zealandia, New Zealand’s leading ideological white nationalist group. The study is based on eighteen months of infiltration of the group by one of the authors from 2019 to 2021. When interacting online, members often adopt highly extremist personas, in some cases threatening mass violence. By contrast, face to face interaction and group membership pushed the group away from extremist violence. This was due to several factors: police pressure and a lack of opportunity for the movement to grow, and the often uninspiring nature of offline interaction.
From image to function Automated analysis of online jihadi videos
2022 García-Marín, J. and Luengo, Ó.G. Article
The strategy of jihadist groups is based on objectives that are sometimes global. Specifically, many of these groups argue that Muslims, wherever they live, should fight for the establishment of an Islamic state or, at least, for such a state to be possible elsewhere. Therefore, taking advantage of the emergence of the Internet, they initiated an equally universal narrative strategy, with the production of a great deal of content, especially audiovisual texts. The effects of this material are known and, unfortunately, may be behind the terrorist actions of various individuals in many countries. Hence the concern of academics lies with their analyses and with the development of methodologies that can successfully deal with large amounts of multimodal information. The present research, therefore, aims to apply a quantitative procedure to the analysis of jihadist propaganda. Specifically, the authors have analysed 2,211 videos belonging to different terrorist groups, by applying an image classification algorithm. The results show that this type of approach has realistic possibilities of providing relevant information about this corpus – when realized, they may help to create automated analytical tools capable of dealing with the enormous amount of information that can be disseminated on-line.