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
Right-Wing Extremists’ Persistent Online Presence: History and Contemporary Trends
2019 Conway, M., Scrivens, R. and Macnair, L. Report
This policy brief traces how Western right-wing extremists have exploited the power of the internet from early dial-up bulletin board systems to contemporary social media and messaging apps. It demonstrates how the extreme right has been quick to adopt a variety of emerging online tools, not only to connect with the like-minded, but to radicalise some audiences while intimidating others, and ultimately to recruit new members, some of whom have engaged in hate crimes and/or terrorism. Highlighted throughout is the fast pace of change of both the internet and its associated platforms and technologies, on the one hand, and the extreme right, on the other, as well as how these have interacted and evolved over time. Underlined too is the persistence, despite these changes, of rightwing extremists’ online presence, which poses challenges for effectively responding to this activity moving forward.
Rise of Radicalization in the Global Village: Online Radicalization Cs. In-person Radicalization - Is There a Difference?
2016 Dramac Jiries, T. Journal
In the vicinity of open space, some authors have called the “dark web” the perfect “breeding grounds” for generating conditions for seeds of extremism to thrive and grow. The perceived anonymity and vast information databases found here present a perfect incubator for terrorist activity. Academics and policymakers alike are as well convinced that such an open space filled with recruiter masterminds is perfectly adept at embracing the unadoptable, unconventional, or socially unfit into terrorist or jihadi organizations.

Nevertheless, regardless of organizations, modernization and adoption of new technological methods in which one can obtain ideas and information, many individuals are still and to a great extent, influenced by face-to-face interactions. Intimate environments of a religious institution, somewhat of a home-like feeling in community gathering center, can equally impact a person, as can the internet and its vast informational influence.

For the reason of contributing to understand the radicalization in the Global Village, this article will examine differences in online and in-person radicalization and illustrate it with some examples and attempt to make a comparison between two different exposures to information and its effects on young individuals.
Risk Of Cyberterrorism To Naval Ships Inport Naval Station Everett a model based project utilizing SIAM
2007 Tester, R. R. A. MA Thesis
Based on numerous high level concerns that the cyber threat is expected to increase, as well as the already documented uses of cyber warfare, it is necessary to ensure our naval ships are hardened against such attacks. In doing so, an influence net model was designed to discover the likelihood of a successful cyber attack. However, first it was necessary to establish what the best mitigation tools are in defense of cyber attack methods. In order to do so, an expert opinion survey was designed and completed by individuals currently working in the field of network security. In combination with the expert opinion surveys and in looking at research and established security techniques it should become apparent whether or not ships are taking all the required steps to best secure themselves against an attack. Though the initial model was designed around a theoretical Naval Station Everett ship, with modification the model can be utilized for any naval asset throughout the United States and the risk for each particular U.S. asset can be evaluated. Additionally, this tool can also facilitate security funding as well as establishing a means of prioritizing the tools for protection if the network needs to be hastily re-established after an attack. Ultimately, the protection of a ship’s computer networks against cyber terrorist threats is fundamental in ensuring continued effective command and control and ultimately the security of this nation.
RiskTrack: A New Approach for Risk Assessment of Radicalisation Based on Social Media Data
2015 Camacho et al. Article
The RiskTrack project aims to help in the prevention of terrorism through the identification of online radicalisation. In line with the European Union priorities in this matter, this project has been designed to identify and tackle the indicators that raise a red flag about which individuals or communities are being radicalised and recruited to commit violent acts of terrorism. Therefore, the main goals of this project will be twofold: On the one hand, it is needed to identify the main features and characteristics that can be used to evaluate a risk situation, to do that a risk assessment methodology studying how to detect signs of radicalisation (e.g., use of language, behavioural patterns in social networks...) will be designed. On the other hand, these features will be tested and analysed using advanced data mining methods, knowledge representation (semantic and ontology engineering) and multilingual technologies. The innovative aspect of this project is to not offer just a methodology on risk assessment, but also a tool that is build based on this methodology, so that the prosecutors, judges, law enforcement and other actors can obtain a short term tangible results.
Ritualized Opposition In Danish Online Practices Of Extremist Language And Thought
2019 Hervik, P. Article
This article looks at extreme speech practices in Danish weblogs and Facebook comment threads that treat issues of refugees, migration, Islam, and opponents as a cultural war of values and conflict. The article highlights the ritualized ways in which anti-immigrant sentiments are being communicated, received, and responded to. Such recurrent ritualistic communicative patterns include the use of a distinct indignant tone, sarcasm, racialized reasoning, and the use of “high-fives,” as well as a general indifference to facts. The article argues that these online speech patterns can best be understood as a form of “ritualized opposition” that relies on extremist, divisive use of language and naturalization of racialized difference in its attempt to recruit and consolidate communities of support.
Role Of Intelligence In Countering Terrorism on the Internet: Revisiting 3/11
2008 Díaz, G. and Merlos, A. Article
In this paper we argue that understanding terrorism within the new cyber environment of the twenty-first century is paramount for the intelligence services in the dawn of the 21st century. We believe that the intelligence services will have to confront this new trend in terrorism tactics in years to come whether they are fully prepared or not. This new type of threat will be one of the principal questions for intelligence services in the 21st Century.
Routing the Extreme Right: Challenges for Social Media Platforms
2020 Conway, M. Article
Between 2014 and 2017, the Islamic State maintained vibrant communities on a range of social media platforms. Due to aggressive account and content takedown policies by the major platforms, these visible communities are now almost non-existent. Following the March 2019 Christchurch attack, the question as to why major platforms cannot rout the extreme right in the same way has repeatedly arisen. In this article, Maura Conway explores why this is not as straightforward as it may seem.
Sasha Havlicek Interviewed by BBC News on Internet Radicalisation and Effective Counter Narratives
2014 Havlicek, S. Video
Sasha Havlicek of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue interviewed by BBC News in July 2014 on the topic of internet radicalisation and effective counter-narratives. Originally published by the BBC on 1 July 2014
Searching for Signs of Extremism on the Web: An Introduction to Sentiment-Based Identification of Radical Authors
2017 Scrivens, R., Davies, G., and Frank, R. Journal
As violent extremists continue to surface in online discussion forums, law enforcement agencies search for new ways of uncovering their digital indicators. Researchers have both described and hypothesized a number of ways to detect online traces of potential extremists, yet this area of inquiry remains in its infancy. This study proposes a new search method that, through the analysis of sentiment, identifies the most radical users within online forums. Although this method is applicable to web-forums of any type, the method was evaluated on four Islamic forums containing approximately 1 million posts of its 26,000 unique users. Several characteristics of each user’s postings were examined, including their posting behavior and the content of their posts. The content was analyzed using Parts-Of-Speech tagging, sentiment analysis, and a novel algorithm called ‘Sentiment-based Identification of Radical Authors’, which accounts for a user’s percentile score for average sentiment score, volume of negative posts, severity of negative posts, and duration of negative posts. The results suggest that there is no simple typology that best describes radical users online; however, the method is flexible enough to evaluate several properties of a user’s online activity that can identify radical users on the forums.
Sectarian Twitter War: Sunni-Shia Conflict and Cooperation in the Digital Age
2015 Siegal, A. Report
Amid mounting death tolls in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, sectarian discourse is
on the rise across the Arab world—particularly in the online sphere, where
extremist voices are amplified and violent imagery and rhetoric spreads rapidly.
Despite this, social media also provides a space for cross-sectarian discourse
and activism. Analysis of over 7 million Arabic tweets from February to August
2015 suggests that violent events and social network structures play key roles
in the transmission of this sectarian and countersectarian rhetoric on Twitter.
Self-regulation and ‘hate speech’ on social media platforms
2018 Free Word Centre Report
In this brief, ARTICLE 19 seeks to contribute to discussions on greater regulation of social media platforms, including calls for such platforms to be considered publishers. We do so by exploring a possible model for the independent and effective self regulation of social media platforms.

ARTICLE 19 recognises that dominant social media companies hold considerable power over the flow of information and ideas online, given the vast quantities of content published on their platforms. The way in which social media companies have dealt with content issues on their platforms, especially around ‘hate speech’, has been of particular concern to many stakeholders. Under international standards on freedom of expression, however, it is a fairly complex task to decide whether a specific message can be identified as unlawful ‘hate speech’, and, as such, whether it should or could legitimately be prohibited. More generally, any restriction on freedom of expression, whatever the objective it seeks to achieve, necessarily raises a series of legal questions.
Sentiment-Based Identification of Radical Authors (SIRA).
2015 Scrivens, R., Davies, G., Frank, R. and Mei, J. Article
Shedding Light On Terrorist And Extremist Content Removal
2019 Vegt, I.V.D. Gill, P., Macdonald,S. and Kleinberg, B. Report
Social media and tech companies face the challenge of identifying and removing terrorist and extremist content from their platforms. This paper presents the findings of a series of interviews with Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) partner companies and law enforcement Internet Referral Units (IRUs). It offers a unique view on current practices and challenges regarding content removal, focusing particularly on human-based and automated approaches and the integration of the two.
Shifting Fire: Information Effects in Counterinsurgency and Stability Operations
2006 Collings, D. and Rohozinski, R. Report
Report from the “Information Operations and Winning the Peace” workshop, held at the U.S. Army War College (USAWC), Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania
Shifts in the Visual Media Campaigns of AQAP and ISIS After High Death and High Publicity Attacks
2020 Winkler, C., McMinimy, K., El-Damanhoury, K. and Almahmoud, M. Article
Extreme militant groups use their media campaigns to share information, recruit and radicalize followers, share worldviews, and seek public diplomacy ends. While previous research documents that various on-the-ground events correspond to changes in the groups’ messaging strategies, studies of how competing militant groups influence one another’s media campaigns are nascent. This study helps fill that gap by examining how successful attacks by one militant group correspond to changes in both the perpetrating and competing groups’ visual media messaging strategies. It examines attack success through the lens of violent acts that result in direct impact (measured through death counts) and indirect impact (measured through traditional media coverage levels). The study utilizes a content analysis of 1882 authority-related images in AQAP’s al-Masra newsletter and ISIS’s al-Naba’ newsletter appearing three issues before and after each attack, and a chi-square analysis comparing four ISIS attack conditions (high death/high media, high death/low media, low death/high media, and low death/low media). The findings show that a high number of resulting deaths, rather than a high level of media coverage, correspond to changes in the media campaigns of both the perpetrators and the competing groups, with key differences in visual content based on group identity.
Shooting the Messenger: Do Not Blame the Internet for Terrorism
2019 Glazzard, A. Report
The internet clearly matters to terrorists, but online content by itself rarely causes people to carry out terrorist attacks. Responses should therefore not be limited to the mass removal of terrorist content from online platforms.
Skinhead Super Mario Brothers: An Examination of Racist and Violent Games on White Supremacist Web Sites
2010 Selepak, A. Article
This study uses qualitative interpretive textual analysis of video games found on hate and extremist Web sites to explore the proliferation of these games on the Internet and the extent they advocate violence and conflict or portray hate groups in a positive way to existing and potential members. In particular, this study examines the “enemies” targeted in these games and the level of violence directed toward these enemies. Results indicate the majority of games examined promoted extreme violence and conflict toward blacks and Jewish people. The games analyzed in this study required the player to violently kill, wound, and maim minorities in order to advance and were often modified versions of classic video games in which the original enemies were replaced with religious, racial and ethnic minorities. This study suggests that video games found on hate and extremist sites are intended to indoctrinate players with white supremacist ideology and allow individuals who already hold racist ideologies to practice aggressive scripts toward minorities which may later influence real world interactions.
Social Media And Counter Terrorist Finance A Fund Raising And Disruption Tool
2018 Keatinge, T. & Keen,F. Article
The proliferation of social media has created a terrorist finance vulnerability due to the ease with which propaganda can be spread, promoting fund-raising for a certain cause. Social media companies recognize the importance of preventing violent extremist and terrorist content, but less attention is paid to their fund-raising role. As well as presenting a threat, the movement of terrorist fund-raising activities online creates a disruption opportunity. This article argues that social media companies need to display greater awareness of their vulnerability to supporting terrorist financing and greater collaboration with law enforcement and financial institutions to strengthen the integrity of the system against abuse.
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.
Social media and counterterrorism strategy
2016 Alstrope, T. Article
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.