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
The Dark Net
2015 Bartlett, J. Book
Beyond the familiar online world that most of us inhabit lies a vast network of sites, communities and cultures where freedom is pushed to its limits. A world that is as creative and complex as it is dangerous and disturbing. A world that is much closer than you think. The Dark Net is a revelatory examination of the internet today, and of its most innovative and dangerous.
The Dark Side of Online Activism: Swedish Right-Wing Extremist Video Activism on YouTube
2014 Ekman, M. Journal
In recent years, an emerging body of work, centred on specific communicative forms used in facilitating collective and connective action, have contributed to greater understanding of how digital communication relates to social mobilisation. Plenty of these studies highlight the progressive potentiality of digital communication. However, undemocratic actors also utilise the rapid advancement in digital technology. This article explores the online video activism of extreme right-wing groups in Sweden. It analyses more than 200 clips on YouTube, produced by five right-wing extremist organisations. The study shows that the extreme right deploy video activism as a strategy of visibility to mobilise and strengthen activists. Moreover, the groups attempt to alter the perception of (historically-rooted) socio-political identi- ties of the extreme right. Furthermore, YouTube becomes a political arena in which action repertoires and street politics are adapted to the specific characteristics of online video activism. Finally, video activism could be understood as an aestheticisation of politics.
The Dark Side of the Web: Italian Right-Wing Extremist Groups and the Internet
2009 Caiani, M. and Parenti, L. Journal
Focusing on extreme-right organisations in Italy, this article addresses the specific use of the Internet by extremist groups and its potential role for the formation of collective identity, organisational contacts and mobilisation. The analysis includes both political parties and non-party organisations, even violent groups. Through the combination of Social Network Analysis (SNA) of web linkages amongst approximately 100 organisations, with a formalised content analysis of those websites, we argue that various forms of usage of the Internet by right-wing organisations are indeed on the rise,
with an increase not only in the number of extremist websites but also in the exploitation of the Internet for diffusing propaganda, promoting ‘virtual communities’ of debate, fundraising, and organising and mobilising political campaigns. The various specificities of the usage of the Internet by extreme right organisations are demonstrated and linked to offline reality.
The Deceit of internet hate speech: A Study of the narrative and visual methods used by hate groups on the Internet
2004 Albano, G.M. MA Thesis
Intentional misinformation is a problem that has been documented in a variety of shapes and forms for thousands of years and continues to plague the American landscape. The advent and increasing usage of the Internet have created an additional venue through which intentional misinformation is disseminated, and many groups are taking full advantage of this new communication medium. Because the Internet allows anyone with web publishing skills to disseminate misinformation, it is often difficult for users to judge the credibility of the information. Hate groups understand this phenomenon and are taking full advantage of the Internet by publishing hate sites that promote their extremist ideologies by using language and symbolism that makes the true message difficult to decipher. This study will investigate the methods employed by hate groups to disseminate misinformation to the public.
The Devil's Long Tail: Religious and Other Radicals in the Internet Marketplace
2014 Stevens, D. and O’Hara, K. Book
This book is concerned with the links or relationships between religious radicalism, violent extremism and the Internet.
The Digital Battlefield: A Network Analysis of the Online Activities of the Modern Militia Movement
2018 DeLeeuw, J. G. MA Thesis
The goal of this dissertation is to develop a better understanding of how militias use the internet to connect with other militias, their members, and the public. The modern militia movement in the United States experienced a resurgence of late following a rapid decline in the early 2000s. Along with the drop in membership, the interest levels of researchers and law enforcement began to fade and as a result, a significant gap formed in the literature as it relates to our understanding of the groups’ activities.

I address this gap by examining the online activities of the modern militia movement at three levels. Specifically, I examine how militias throughout the United States connect with each other through their official websites, how militias operating at different geographic levels connect with other websites, and how a regional militia uses Facebook to communicate with its members and the public. The three components of this dissertation reveal that the modern militia movement has experienced important changes in its online activity since 2013. Component I examines the breakdown in the nationwide network of militia websites that occurred between 2014 and 2017. Component II reveals the ways the networks surrounding three militia groups changed from 2013 to 2017 and the important role ideology plays in the connections between websites. Component III examines the ways one militia utilized Facebook during an eleven month period, including which content posted by the group had the highest likelihood of generating participation from visitors and the interactions that occurred in the most active discussions among visitors.

Understanding how militias connect with each other and with individuals is an important step towards understanding the modern movement, its goals, and activities. A deeper understanding of these groups and their activities will provide a foundation for future research and assist law enforcement developing response strategies.
The Digital Caliphate
2016 Jovana, V. MA Thesis
Within the short timeframe of a few months, a new terrorist group managed to solidify its presence in the Middle East in order to begin radicalizing and recruiting foreigners to fight jihad and declare an overarching goal of creating a purely Islamic State. DAESH quickly established their brand and a media strategy and became known worldwide for the high production value of their communication operations just as much as for their savage cruelty. The use of media has become vital to its overall success as a terrorist organization. Through targeted propaganda strategies, DAESH has managed to appeal to marginalized foreigners. While the populations of the Western world, largely opposed to DAESH, receive videos of beheadings and barbarity, potential recruits are inundated with images of state-building, charity work, and brotherhood. Concurrently, DAESH has managed to utilize the mainstream media landscape in order to further facilitate anti- Islamic rhetoric and intensify the air of mystery surrounding the organization. Through the sophisticated use of technology, as well as a detailed understanding and exploitation of human behavior and psychology, DAESH has managed to establish themselves as one of the most adept terror organizations, due in large part to the successful intersection of their communication operations with targeted propaganda strategies.
The Digital Caliphate. A Study of Propaganda from the Islamic State
2017 Kaati, L. Article
This report presents research carried out within the project (Ku2016/01373/D - Uppdrag till Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut (FOI) att göra kartläggningar och analyser av våldsbejakande extremistisk propaganda) that has been assigned to the Swedish defence research agency by the Swedish Government. The project will continue until March 2019. The purpose of this report is to highlight various aspects of IS’s digital propaganda; How it is spread, what its content is, how the content varies over time, and how images are used in the propaganda. We have also studied the role of women and children in IS-propaganda, and how a youth culture called Jihadi cool has evolved with its own kind of clothing, music and cultural expressions. IS’s propaganda contains a variety of religious concepts and references, which IS sometimes use in a non-traditional way. Therefore, a chapter in this report describes how Islamic politico-religious language can be used to convey different kinds of messages
The Discourse Of Cyberterrorism - Exceptional Measures Call For The Framing Of Exceptional Times
2015 Auwema, N. M. MA Thesis
The configuration of the discourse of cyberterrorism in the Netherlands is a mix of public and private actors that have diverging views about whether cyberterrorism is a genuine security threat. How and why have several of these actors argued that it is a genuine security threat? What was their interest in doing so? Has cyberterrorism possibly been framed or hyped as a genuine security threat? This thesis examines the discourse of cyberterrorism in the Netherlands by examining the field, the position on cyberterrorism of the actors within this field, and finally, their levels of technological capital, legitimacy and authority. Considering the differences in these levels, this thesis contends that public and private actors have different interests in arguing that cyberterrorism is a threat. While public actors are concerned with the protection of Dutch cyberspace and the Dutch society, private actors, with the exception of Fox-IT, have multiple interests. This has led these private actors to frame or hype cyberterrorism as a genuine security threat, without the necessary background to base their statement on. Exceptional measures have led to the framing of exceptional times.
The Discourse of Terror Threats: Assessing Online Written Threats by Nigerian Terrorist Groups
2016 Chiluwa, I. Journal
Online threats by terrorist groups are viewed as a special type of discourse that sends menacing explicit messages, expressing not only an intention to cause a direct physical harm to the threatened, but also to show a commitment to destroy public property or cause a change of system or government. This study applies critical discourse analysis with some insights from pragmatics to analyze the discourse-pragmatic contents of terror threats by two terrorist groups in Nigeria—Boko Haram and Ansaru. Explicit and implied threats are examined from seven online publications by these groups written between 2009 and 2012. This study shows that terror threats by Nigerian terrorist groups are intertextually and ideologically related to threats associated with Al Qaeda and global jihad, which also goes further to establish their strong link and influence with other terror groups around the world. The findings also show that the structure of terror threats is significantly different from the conventional formula for verbal threats.
The Dynamics of the Creation, Evolution, and Disappearance of Terrorist Internet Forums
2013 Torres-Soriano, M.R. Journal
An examination of the organisational nature of the threat posed by jihadi terrorism, supplying quantitative and qualitative data on the dynamics behind the creation, evolution, and disappearance of the main jihadi Internet forums during the period 2008–2012. An analysis of the origins and functions of the forums, their links with terrorist organizations, their internal structures, and the processes accounting for their stability in cyberspace shows that far from representing a horizontal structure where the main actors are a network of followers, the terrorist presence on the Internet is in fact a hierarchical organization in which intervention by formal terrorist organizations plays a crucial role.
The E-Marketing Strategy of Hamas
2010 Mozes, T and Weimann, G. Journal
Given the growth of Internet research in recent years, it is rather surprising that research of online terrorism and countermeasures has been lacking theoretical and conceptual frameworks. The present study suggests applying the concepts and models taken from e-marketing to the study of terrorist websites. This work proves that when Hamas builds an array of sites in the Internet, it complies with the same rules that the Western business world follows. Chaffey et al. (2000) constructed a model comprised of eight decision points in the process of building a business-oriented Internet site. Although the model was developed for commercial purposes, the present study demonstrates how it could be used as an analytic framework to study terrorist websites. As shown, most of the decision points in the model were relevant to the Palestinian Information Center group of websites. Understanding the e-marketing strategy of Hamas will allow the construction of a competing marketing strategy in order to market rival ideological consumer products.
The Effectiveness Of The Principle Of Distinction In The Context Of Cyber Warfare
2014 Van Breda, L. C.
International humanitarian law provides foundational norms which are to be observed by states in order to protect civilians from the harsh realities of war. These norms have been applied to traditional kinetic methods of warfare but as technology advances at a rapid pace so too do methods of warfare. As weaponry becomes more sophisticated it is necessary to revisit the foundational principles of international humanitarian law and apply them to situations that could only previously have been imagined. The principles of distinction is a core principle of this branch of law and it is not to be disregarded as a result of the fact that it predates modern methods of warfare but rather it is to be re-examined, its importance observed and applied to the warfare that we are faced with today. Protecting civilians has been of utmost importance in recent history and the development in the technology of weapons should not change that fact in the present or future.
The Eglyph Web Crawler: ISIS Content on YouTube
2018 Counter Extremism Project Report
From March 8 to June 8, 2018, the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) conducted a
study to better understand how ISIS content is being uploaded to YouTube, how long
it is staying online, and how many views these videos receive. To accomplish this,
CEP conducted a limited search for a small set of just 229 previously-identified ISIS
terror-related videos from among the trove of extremist material available on the
platform.
CEP used two computer programs to locate these ISIS videos: a web crawler to
search video titles and descriptions for keywords in videos uploaded to YouTube, and
eGLYPH, a robust hashing content-identification system. CEP’s search of a limited
set of ISIS terror-related videos found that hundreds of ISIS videos are uploaded to
YouTube every month, which in turn garner thousands of views.
The Electronic Starry Plough: The Enationalism of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement (IRSM)
2001 Dartnell, M. Journal
This paper takes the case of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement (IRSM) as the point of departure to discuss how insurgent political movement use Web communications. From mirror sites in Ireland and North America, IRSM supporters regularly use Web technology to relay the group message to a global audience at http://www.irsm.org/irsm.html. The resulting direct media contact gives the IRSM unprecedented access to global civil society. By referring to the IRSM Web site, the types of messages transmitted, the forms of transmission (text, video, audio, e-mail or other), and target audiences (national, global, political elites, media), this paper outlines some of the issues and challenges posed by Web-based anti-government media. The Internet and the Web do not constitute a threat to state power as some analysts suggest but at the same time they significantly alter political communication. The IRSM is a case of "enationalism", that is, the representation of a place as home to a specific group of people. Unlike traditional nationalism, enationalism is not tied to physical space or territory, but to representation of a network of relations based on a common language, historical experience, religion and/or culture. It is about both memory and future projection of a place as the home for a given group. In this light, new media will likely co-exist with other forms of political communication for some time.
The Emergence Of Violent Narratives In The Life-Course Trajectories Of Online Forum Participants
2016 Levey, P. MA Thesis




Drawing from Life Course Theory (LCT) and General Strain Theory (GST), the current study sought to address the development of negative affect in the online context, specifically whether the turning point of entrance into adulthood was associated with a change in the sentiment expressed online. A mixed-methods approach was employed, whereby 96 individuals were sampled from 3 online Islamic forums, and approximately 3000 posts per user were analyzed over 9 years. Quantitative results display a development in sentiment over time (increasing in negativity) for both minors and adults. Qualitatively, most users displayed a change in overall posting content throughout their time online; but a select few did not display any development – these individuals were the most negative/extreme on the forum. Implications of these findings for research on the role of the Internet in the development of negative narratives and extremism are discussed, as well as avenues for future research.



The Emerging Role of Social Media in the Recruitment of Foreign Fighters
2016 Weimann, G. Chapter
Without recruitment terrorism can not prevail, survive and develop. Recruitment provides the killers, the suicide bombers, the kidnappers, the executioners, the engineers, the soldiers and the armies of future terrorism. The internet has become a useful instrument for modern terrorists’ recruitment and especially of foreign fighters. Online platforms and particularly the new social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) combine several advantages for the recruiters. The global reach of the Net allows groups to publicise events to more people; and by increasing the possibilities for interactive communication, new opportunities for assisting groups and individuals are offered, along with more chances for contacting them directly. Terrorist recruiters may use interactive online platforms to roam online communities, looking for more ‘promising’ and receptive individuals, using sophisticated profiling procedures. Online recruitment of foreign fighters by terrorist organisations such as the Islamic State (IS) is analysed here as an example of an online multichannel recruitment venue.
The Enduring Influence of Anwar Al-Awlaki in the age of the Islamic State
2016 Shane, S. Article
Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, the leading English-language propagandist for al-Qa`ida, was killed in an American drone strike in 2011. But his influence has lived on into the Islamic State era, enhanced by his status as a martyr for Islam in the eyes of his admirers. His massive internet presence has turned up as a factor in several attacks since his death, including most recently the San Bernardino shootings and the Orlando nightclub attack as well as a significant number of terrorism cases on both sides of the Atlantic. Despite his long association with al-Qa`ida and that network’s rivalry with the upstart Islamic State, al-Awlaki has been embraced by the Islamic State and its followers, and he continues to inspire terrorism from beyond the grave.
The Evolution of Online Violent Extremism In Indonesia And The Philippines
2019 Nuraniyah, N. Article
Pro-Daesh (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS) groups in Indonesia and the Philippines have come to rely on social media for propaganda, fundraising and disseminating instructional material, but in different ways. While Indonesian online extremism has deep roots, with local networks exploiting various online platforms over the past decade, extremist social media in the Philippines only really took off as a consequence of the May 2017 siege in the southern Philippine city of Marawi by pro-Daesh militants. This paper outlines the evolving use of online platforms by pro-Daesh groups in both countries and how this has enabled extremists to develop and strengthen their networks. Social media and encrypted chat apps have shaped the development of extremism in Indonesia and the Philippines in four main areas: branding, recruitment, fundraising, and the increasing role of women. For groups in the Philippines, direct communication with Daesh headquarters via Telegram facilitated their rebranding as the face of Daesh in Southeast Asia, more than just a local insurgency group. In both countries, social media facilitates vertical and horizontal recruitment, but not lone-actor terrorism. Extremist use of the internet for fundraising is still rudimentary –sophisticated financial cybercrime is still virtually non-existent. In all these aspects, women’s roles have become much more visible. For a long time, women had been barred from accessing extremist public spaces, let alone taking an active role as combatants.1 But through social media, women are now able to play more active roles as propagandists, recruiters, financiers, and even suicide bombers. This paper briefly discusses government responses to online extremism, noting that there have been mixed results between Indonesia and the Philippines. Indonesian authorities have undoubtedly been the more successful of the two regimes – both in terms of law enforcement and engagement with the tech sector – but its counter terrorism police now face the problem of how to judiciously use their powers in a democratic manner. The Philippines, meanwhile, is still at the starting line in terms of dealing with online extremism, with the military more accustomed to removing threats than trying to understand them.
The Evolution of the ISIS’ Language: a Quantitative Analysis of the Language of the First Year of Dabiq Magazine
2015 Vergani, M. and Bliuc, A. Article
In this article we investigate the evolution of ISIS by analysing the text contained in Dabiq, the official
ISIS’ internet magazine in English. Specifically, we used a computerized text analysis pro-gram
LIWC (Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count) to investigate the evolution of the language of the first
11 Issues of Dabiq. First, our analysis showed that affiliation seems to be an increasingly important
psychological motive for the group. Secondly, ISIS has been increasingly using emotions, which
are an important mobilizing factor in collective action literature, in a strategic manner. Thirdly,
ISIS language presents an increasing concern with females. Last but not least, our analysis shows
that ISIS has been increasingly using internet jargon (net-speak), which shows how the group tries
to adapt itself to the internet environment and to connect with the identities of young individuals.