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
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.
Populism, extremism and media: Mapping an uncertain terrain
2016 Alvares, C., Dahlgren, P. Article
Aiming to critically review key research on populism, extremism and media, this article examines some definition aspects of populism as a concept, its relation to ‘the people’ and points to future directions for research in mainstream – and social media – the terrain where so much of the political is played out. An individualisation of civic cultures has emerged in tandem with the growth of mediated populism through the use of new technologies, with a tendency towards personalisation in the public domain. While the new technological affordances exemplified by Web 2.0 may have contributed to intensified forms of popular engagement, they have been less successful in promoting democratic values, as shown by the results of the May 2014 European Parliamentary elections. Thus, the question as to the type of publics that are ‘possible and desirable in present circumstances’ (Nolan, 2008: 747) remains valid, for publics can espouse anti-democratic values while nevertheless remaining ‘publics’. The fact that the link between the new media and right-wing extremism has been comparatively explored at greater length than that of a religious bend indicates the need to invest in the latter, especially due to home-bred Islamic terrorism increasingly seen as threatening the multiculturalism of various European societies. Several avenues for research are presented to this effect, with a final reflection on the challenge posed by new media to the concept of media populism, both in terms of the Net’s market logics and the specificity of its architecture.
Freedom And The War On Terror In The Digital Age
2006 Alvarez, J.G.E. MA Thesis
Advances in Computer Science continue to provide more tools, each time more efficient, to aid us in our everyday lives with everything from work to entertainment, from health to management of natural resources. Technology has made our lives better and continues to facilitate progress. But just as it can benefit us, it is only a tool. That tool itself is not ‘good’ or ‘evil’; it is only useful to achieve the ends of those who utilize it. And just as it has been used for benefit, there have been cases where its use had a detrimental impact on us. Given the benefits, who is to deny that a government can keep track of its citizens in the same way a business keeps track of all its assets? The discussion here will center on this question, where we suspect that, given technological advances, governments are tempted to achieve this goal. The purpose is to present some of the policies that governments in North America and Europe have proposed and/or adopted with respect to technology and national security, and point out flaws that could allow the undue erosion of privacy and free speech in the electronic world as a consequence. We reflect upon those measures that seem unjustified and unnecessary even in the face of terrorism and argue that none of them include adequate safeguards to minimize the risk of abuse. We hope the reader will realize that none of the measures discussed admit that technology can accommodate the protection of civil liberties as well as security. We also argue that at least in Canada’s case, not counting academia and civil rights groups, policies, and laws introduced as a consequence of the events of 9/11 seem to receive little attention from the public at large. Citizens would appear to be unaware of what is being done to mitigate the terrorist threat. Indeed, amidst such legislative actions, we may be getting used to living in a permanent state of war. We hope our conclusions give an insight into the current landscape of privacy protection in North America and, to some extent, Europe.
'Waging War on the Ideological Battleground' Dr Anne Aly YouTube
2014 Aly, A. Lecture
Paper presented at Swansea University 2014: Terrorists' Use of the Internet (5th-6th June 2014) by Dr Anne Aly of Curtin University. Dr Daly's paper focuses on terroristic narratives and counter narratives online.
Introduction to the Special Issue: Terrorist Online Propaganda and Radicalization
2016 Aly, A., Macdonald, S., Jarvis, L. and Chen, T. Journal
The Internet is a transformative technology that terrorists are exploiting for the spread of propaganda and radicalizing new recruits. While al-Qaeda has a longer history, Islamic State is conducting a modern and sophisticated media campaign centered around online social networking. This article introduces and contextualizes the contributions to this Special Issue by examining some of the ways in which terrorists make use of the Internet as part of their broader media strategies.
Violent Extremism Online: New Perspectives on Terrorism and the Internet
2016 Aly, A., Macdonald, S., Jarvis, L. and Chen, T. Book
This book explores the interface between terrorism and the internet and presents contemporary approaches to understanding violent extremism online.
The volume focuses on four issues in particular: terrorist propaganda on the internet; radicalisation and the internet; counter campaigns and approaches to disrupting internet radicalisation; and approaches to researching and understanding the role of the internet in radicalisation. The book brings together expertise from a wide range of disciplines and geographical regions including Europe, the US, Canada and Australia. These contributions explore the various roles played by the Internet in radicalisation; the reasons why terroristic propaganda may or may not influence others to engage in violence; the role of political conflict in online radicalisation; and the future of research into terrorism and the internet. By covering this broad range of topics, the volume will make an important and timely addition to the current collections on a growing and international subject.

This book will be of much interest to students and researchers of cyber-security, internet politics, terrorism studies, media and communications studies, and International Relations.
Turning the Tap Off: The Impacts of Social Media Shutdown After Sri Lanka’s Easter Attacks
2020 Amarasingam, A. and Rizwie, R. Report
This report examines the social media shutdown in the wake of the Easter Attacks in Sri Lanka, and its impacts on journalists and post-incident communal violence. By highlighting the shutdown’s limitations, social costs and impact on misinformation, this report presents key recommendations for policy-makers, journalists and other key stakeholders. 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.
Countering violent extremism using social media and preventing implementable strategies for Bangladesh
2021 Amit, S., Barua, L. and Kafy, A.A. Article
Globally, more than 85% of youth use social media daily in the medium of Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, etc., which is more than 70% for Bangladesh. The young population of Bangladesh is rapidly embracing social media through the internet and afflicted with the malaise of countering violent extremism (CVE), often through Facebook. Given the increasing connectedness that the internet and social media offer, it is crucial that the fight against CVE shift to the digital space. Extremists are increasingly adopting novel ways and means based on technology to draw unsuspecting youth to their cause. It is essential to establish effective implementable strategies to stop the CVE activities using social media in Bangladesh. This study aims to identify existing initiatives globally in the space of disruptive online technologies that have yielded some success in preventing CVE. Various publications such as journal and news articles, TV news, and blogs have been used as data sources for this study. Also, fifteen expert interviews have been conducted to identify the most effective strategies for CVE in Bangladesh. Through the content analysis, the study highlights successful efforts and explores technology-based initiatives that can be deployed in Bangladesh to minimize the impact of VE activities through online technology. Finally, recommendations for strategies to restrict VE activities through technologies have been suggested that can be potentially implemented by the Bangladesh government by coordinating with international donor agencies and CVE practitioners. The research output recommends that Bangladesh and other less developed countries can concurrently deal with CVE by successfully using cutting-edge online/digital technologies.
Association Between Time Spent Online and Vulnerability to Radicalization: An Empirical Study
2018 Amit, S., Islam, A, Md. Report
The aim of this research is to investigate the risk of online radicalization among young adults, particularly university-attending students, by relating their vulnerability to online radicalization with the amount of time they spend online. This research is an outcome of the “Building Resilient Universities Project” (BRUP), funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a private non-profit, US-based organization, and implemented by the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB). The study adopts a quantitative research approach using a sample of 600 ULAB undergraduates. Analysis of data collected from students shows that the high-internet-user group, i.e., those who use the internet for seven hours or more a day, are more likely to find radical and religiously offensive material online; less likely to be influenced by family, faculty and community members; and have loweraccess to learning and knowledge resources that can render them resilient to radicalization. Therefore, it is posited that high-internet-user students are more vulnerable to online radicalization than others. The data also supports that high-internet-user males more vulnerable to online radicalization than females
Social media and radicalisation of university students in Bangladesh
2020 Amit, S., Rahman, I. and Mannan, S. Article
While there is growing research on radicalisation and its countermeasures, in the context of Bangladesh, there is a paucity of academic studies on the role of social media in the radicalisation of university students. This research addresses the gap by using survey data to examine the online behaviour and social media use of the university-going youth in Bangladesh. The study finds that there is very little distinction between accurate Islamic theological understandings and radical interpretations of Islam among university-going youth, and there is a proliferation of social media content that tell tales of subjugation of Muslims since the inception of Islam. Many (geopolitical) conflicts are seen by the youth as a continuation of the narrative of Western imperialism. The research identifies the core of the dissonance and argues that the idea of Muslim subjugation stems from sociocultural influences and is exacerbated by social media use.
Tweet... If You Dare: How Counter-Terrorism Laws Restrict Freedom of Expression in Spain
2018 Amnesty International Report
Social media users, journalists, lawyers
and musicians have been prosecuted
under Article 578 of the Spanish
Criminal Code, which prohibits “glorifying
terrorism” and “humiliating the victims
of terrorism”. Although this provision
was first introduced in 2000, it is only in
recent years, following its amendment
in 2015, that prosecutions and convictions
under Article 578 have sharply risen.
The result is increasing self-censorship
and a broader chilling effect on freedom
of expression in Spain.
Understanding the Impact of Terrorist Event Reporting on Countering Violent Extremism: From A Practitioner’s Perspective
2018 Andre, V. Report
This report presents the key findings from the London Roundtable on “Understanding the Impact of Terrorist Event Reporting on Countering Violent Extremism”. The event was held at the Australian High Commission in London on 30-31 January 2018. The roundtable brought together media practitioners, CVE and PVE front line practitioners, policy-makers and academics drawn from Australia, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland and the United States of America. Other attendees included representatives from various Australian and British Government departments and New Scotland Yard. This report provides summaries of each of the panel discussions that were delivered at the roundtable, before drawing out the key themes, which emerged and policy recommendations.
Addressing the New Landscape of Terrorism: Towards Formulating Actionable Response
2019 Andre, V. Report
This report presents the key findings from the second international conference “Addressing the New Landscape of Terrorism: Towards Formulating Actionable Response” which was held in Bangkok, Thailand on 24-28 July 2017. Sixty-five delegates presented at the conference. Uniquely, for such a conference, the speakers were academics, front line practitioners, social and community actors, government officials and youth drawn from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Germany, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sweden, Thailand, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Other attendees included representatives from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission of Thailand, the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Security Council of Thailand, the Royal Thai Police, the Thai Ministry of Defense and various security agencies in Thailand, the UNODC, the Delegation of the European Union to Thailand, the Australian Embassy in Thailand, the United States of America Embassy in Thailand, the French Embassy in Thailand and the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium. This report provides summaries of each of the presentations that were delivered at the conference, before drawing out the key themes, which emerged and policy recommendations.
The Janus Face of New Media Propaganda: The Case of Patani Neojihadist YouTube Warfare and Its Islamophobic Effect on Cyber-Actors
2014 Andrea,V. Journal
Surfing on the Internet 2.0 revolution, Patani 2.0 has allowed Patani neojihadist militants to access new competitive spaces and create their own imagined online community by penetrating new realms of the Internet. This article discusses the use of new media militant propaganda by Patani militants and how it is Janus faced. It further examines how the Patani 2.0 social interaction enabled by social media such as YouTube leads to group cohesion among certain actors and the formation of a collective identity that is clustered around the notions of Muslim victimization and defensive jihad; and how, at the same time, it reinforces antithetical identities and fosters group identity competition, where one religious group is often pitted against another. As a result, the Janus effect of Patani neojihadist YouTube online propaganda, while it primarily seeks to radicalize, also generates a reactionary, often virulent, anti-Muslim response from the movement's critics.
Anti-Semitic Targeting of Journalists During the 2016 Presidential Campaign
2016 Anti-Defamation League Report
Over the course of the 2016 Presidential campaign, an execrable trend has emerged: reporters who voiced even slightly negative opinions about presidential candidate Donald Trump have been targeted relentlessly on social media by the candidate’s self-styled supporters; reporters who are Jewish (or are perceived to be Jewish) have borne the brunt of these attacks. There is evidence that Mr. Trump himself may have contributed to an environment in which reporters were targeted. Indeed, he repeatedly denounced reporters as “absolute scum,” and said of “most journalists” in December 2015, “I would never kill them, but I do hate them. And some of them are such lying, disgusting people. It’s true.” Accordingly, while we cannot (and do not) say that the candidate caused the targeting of reporters, we can say that he may have created an atmosphere in which
such targeting arose.

The social media attacks on journalists were brutal.
This is Not a Game: How Steam Harbors Extremists
2020 Anti-Defamation League Report
Steam, the largest and most important online store for PC gamers with over $4 Billion in revenue in 2017, has recently gained popularity among white supremacists for being a platform, like Gab and Telegram, where they can openly express their ideology and calls for violence. The difference between Steam and social media platforms like Telegram or Gab is that while the latter do not share a formal business relationship with the wider social media industry, Steam has direct and lucrative relationships with most major game companies, including 2K, Electronic Arts, Xbox Game Studios, Ubisoft and others. Many of these game companies have made public statements about and dedicated significant resources towards keeping their products safe from the kinds of hateful ideologies espoused by extremists -- while continuing to work with Steam.
From ‘Martyrdom’ Videos to Jihadi Journalism in Somalia
2010 Anzalone, C. Article
An analysis of Harakat al-Shabab’s multimedia releases and the rapid evolution in their production quality and design over a period of two to three years. Sound quality, animation, syncing sound with visuals, and narrative structures have all improved from the group’s multimedia releases from 2007 and 2008 when its videos were relatively simple, often just individuals sitting in front of a video camera, possibly just a camcorder, and grainy battle footage depicting fierce firefights between Harakat al-Shabab and the interim Somali government and its chief military backers, the African Union expeditionary force stationed inside the country.
Continuity and Change: The Evolution and Resiliance of Al-Shabab's Media Insurgency, 2006-2016
2016 Anzalone, C. Report
The Somali jihadi-insurgent movement Al-Shabab has established itself, since emerging in 2007 after the overthrow of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) umbrella in the wake of the December 2006 Ethiopian invasion and occupation of parts of Somalia, as one of the relatively few jihadi organizations to succeed in the capture, control, and governance of territory for a significant period of time. When Islamic State was masquerading as a «paper state» in 2008 and 2009, Al-Shabab’s leadership was busy constructing a bureaucracy of power, divided into regional and local nodes of authority, designed to implement and maintain insurgent rule over rapidly expanding territories. In establishing itself as a self-proclaimed and seemingly viable alternative governing authority, even if only in the short to medium term, Al Shabab continues to present a major challenge to the internationally recognized but weak and corrupt Somali Federal Government (SFG), the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and the international community. The Somali insurgents, in successfully implementing a form of law and order, however harsh and philistine their interpretation of Islamic law and specifically their imposition of hudud («set») punishments for crimes such as highway robbery, banditry, theft, zina (various forms of fornication), and murder, provided other Sunni jihadi groups with an example of how jihadi-insurgent governance can be enacted in practice.
Automatic Identification and Classification of Misogynistic Language on Twitter
2018 Anzovino, M., Fersini, E. and Rosso, P. Article
Hate speech may take different forms in online social media. Most of the investigations in the literature are focused on detecting abusive language in discussions about ethnicity, religion, gender identity and sexual orientation. In this paper, we address the problem of automatic detection and categorization of misogynous language in online social media. The main contribution of this paper is two-fold: (1) a corpus of misogynous tweets, labelled from different perspective and (2) an exploratory investigations on NLP features and ML models for detecting and classifying misogynistic language.
An Ensemble Method for Radicalization and Hate Speech Detection Online Empowered by Sentic Computing
2021 Araque, O. and Iglesias, C. A. Article
The dramatic growth of the Web has motivated researchers to extract knowledge from enormous repositories and to exploit the knowledge in myriad applications. In this study, we focus on natural language processing (NLP) and, more concretely, the emerging field of affective computing to explore the automation of understanding human emotions from texts. This paper continues previous efforts to utilize and adapt affective techniques into different areas to gain new insights. This paper proposes two novel feature extraction methods that use the previous sentic computing resources AffectiveSpace and SenticNet. These methods are efficient approaches for extracting affect-aware representations from text. In addition, this paper presents a machine learning framework using an ensemble of different features to improve the overall classification performance. Following the description of this approach, we also study the effects of known feature extraction methods such as TF-IDF and SIMilarity-based sentiment projectiON (SIMON). We perform a thorough evaluation of the proposed features across five different datasets that cover radicalization and hate speech detection tasks. To compare the different approaches fairly, we conducted a statistical test that ranks the studied methods. The obtained results indicate that combining affect-aware features with the studied textual representations effectively improves performance. We also propose a criterion considering both classification performance and computational complexity to select among the different methods.