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
Measuring the Impact of ISIS Social Media Strategy
2018 Alfifi, M., Kaghazgaran P., Caverlee, J., Morstatter F. Report
Terrorist groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have exploited social media such as Twitter to spread their propaganda and to recruit new members. In this work we study the extent to which ISIS is able to spread their message beyond their immediate supporters. Are they operating in their own sphere with limited interaction with the overall community? Or are they well rooted among normal users? We find that three-quarters of the interactions ISIS received on Twitter in 2015 actually came from eventually suspended accounts raising questions about the potential number of ISIS-related accounts and how organic ISIS audience is. Towards tackling these questions, we have created a unique dataset of 17 million ISIS-related tweets posted in 2015. This dataset is available for research purposes upon request.
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.
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
Applying Local Image Feature Descriptions to Aid the Detection of Radicalization Processes in Twitter
2018 López-Sánchez, D., Corchado, J. Report
This paper was presented at the 2nd European Counter-Terrorism Centre (ECTC) Advisory Group conference, 17-18 April 2018, at Europol Headquarters, The Hague.
Social Media in Mali and its Relation to Violent Extremism: A Youth Perspective
2020 Vermeersch, E., Coleman, J., Demuynck, M. and Dal Santo, E. Report
The influence of social media on the spread of violent extremist narratives and online radicalisation processes has recently become a focal point for research in the fields of Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism; however, most of the studies thus far have focused on Western countries and have often been aimed at analysing phenomena such as homegrown and lone wolf terrorism or the online radicalisation of foreign terrorist fighters. Far less evidence-based research has explored the influence of social media on terrorism in Africa and even less regarding Mali in particular. In this report, ICCT and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) seek to fill this gap through an analysis of survey data from youth participants in their joint on-the-ground project in Mali—“Mali (Dis-) Engagement and Re-Integration related to Terrorism” (MERIT)—to determine the implications of social media use for violent extremism in Mali.
Social Media in Africa: A double-edged sword for security and development
2018 Cox, K., Marcellino, W., Bellasio, J., Ward, A., Galai, K., Meranto, S., Paoli, P.G. Report
There is an on-going debate over the role of online activities in the radicalisation process. However, much of this debate has focused on Western countries, particularly in relation to ISIL’s online influence of homegrown terrorism and of foreign fighter travel to Iraq and Syria. Less is known about patterns of online radicalisation in Africa and about the extent to which African national governmental strategies focus on addressing this issue. To address this gap in knowledge, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) commissioned RAND Europe to explore social media use and online radicalisation in Africa.
OK Google, Show Me Extremism: Analysis of YouTube’s Extremist Video Takedown Policy and Counter-Narrative Program
2018 Counter Extremism Project Report
ISIS and other extremist groups, as well as their online supporters, have continued to exploit and misuse Google’s platforms to disseminate propaganda material, despite the company having repeatedly announced increased measures to combat online extremism.1 On July 21, 2017, Google announced the launch of one such measure––its Redirect Method Pilot Program. The program is intended to target individuals searching for ISIS-related content on YouTube and direct them to counter-narrative videos, which try to undermine the messaging of extremist
groups.2 The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) monitors and tracks ISIS and other terrorist organizations’ material on YouTube. Between August 2 and August 3, 2018, CEP reviewed a total of 649 YouTube videos for extremist and counter-narrative content. The result of CEP’s searches highlights the extent of the enduring problem of terrorist content on YouTube and undermines claims touting the efficacy of the company’s efforts to combat online extremism.
More Support Needed for Smaller Technology Platforms to Counter Terrorist Content
2018 CTED Report
The present Trends Alert was prepared by CTED in accordance with Security Council resolution 2395 (2017). This reaffirms the essential role of CTED within the United Nations to identify and assess issues, trends and developments relating to the implementation of Council resolutions 1373 (2001), 1624 (2005) and 2178 (2014) and other relevant resolutions. CTED Trends Alerts are designed to increase awareness, within the Security Council Counter Terrorism Committee, and among United Nations agencies and policymakers, of emerging trends identified through CTED’s engagement with Member States on their implementation of the relevant Council resolutions. The Alerts also include relevant evidence-based research conducted by members of the CTED Global Research Network (GRN)1 and other researchers.
From Minutes to Months: A rapid evidence assessment of the impact of media and social media during and after terror events
2018 Innes, M., Innes, H., Dobreva, D., Chermak, S., Huey, S., McGovern, A. Report
This document reports findings from a Rapid Evidence Assessment conducted on the role of mass and social media during and after terrorist events. It is designed to bring together and synthesize insights and evidence from the available published research literature to inform future policy and practice development. By promoting understanding of how different forms of mediated communication shape what happens in the aftermath of terror events, the work seeks to reflect changes in both the conduct of terrorism and the contemporary information environment. In particular, the spread of social media has had disruptive and transformative impacts upon press and broadcast journalism, and the ways
that terrorist violence is performed.
Netwar in Cyberia: Decoding the Media Mujahidin
2018 Fisher, A. Report
At the dawn of mass access to the internet, Douglas Rushkof wrote Cyberia: Life in the Trenches of Hyperspace. In his book, he observed a very special moment in our recent history in which it was possible to imagine the path ahead, before most of what daily users of the internet now
experience even existed.
Digital Jihad: Propaganda from the Islamic State
2018 Cohen, K., Kaati, L. Report
The purpose of this report is to raise awareness of how the so-called Islamic State (IS) uses digital propaganda to reach followers in the West. Although IS has suffered significant territorial losses, the digital battle is far from over. The big social media platforms are now effective in removing propaganda, but despite this, IS is always finding new ways of producing and spreading its messages. IS ability to adapt to an ever-changing digital landscape is likely to keep the organization alive by enabling communication between supporters worldwide. This report provides an introduction to IS propaganda from different perspectives: the specific language used by IS, the brand IS, the magazines produced by IS and women's role in IS.
Radikal Online: Das Internet und die Radikalisierung von Jugendlichen: eine Metaanalyse zum Forschungsfeld
2018 Knipping-Sorokin, R., Stumpf, T. Report
Der Beitrag befasst sich mit dem Einfluss des Internets auf Meinungsbildungsprozesse in Gestalt von Radikalisierung Jugendlicher in Deutschland. Dafür wird in einer metaanalytischen Vorgehensweise das Forschungsfeld zu Online-Radikalisierung im deutschen Forschungsdiskurs, ergänzt durch relevante internationale Befunde, genau sondiert und aufgeschlüsselt. Wie sich zeigt, ist das bestehende Wissen dazu äußerst bruchstückhaft; lediglich einzelne Facetten wurden im komplexen Zusammenwirken vieler Faktoren eines Radikalisierungsverlaufs bisher untersucht. Um mehr über die Hintergründe zu Online-Radikalisierung Jugendlicher zu erfahren, besteht die Notwendigkeit eines interdisziplinären und multimethodischen Vorgehens, zu dem insbesondere die Kulturanthropologie mit ihren Methoden und emischen Perspektiven auf lebensweltliche Zusammenhänge einen wichtigen Beitrag leisten kann. Die vorliegende Metaanalyse bietet neben einer theoretischen Fundierung und begrifflichen Einordnung eine strukturierte Statusaufnahme und Auswertung der aktuellen Forschungslandschaft zu der Rolle des Internets auf die Radikalisierung von jungen Menschen. Die Arbeit identifiziert Erkenntnisse und zeigt aktuelle Forschungsdesiderata auf. Die vorliegende Studie bietet somit einen systematischen Überblick über die deutsche Forschungslandschaft und kann als Grundlage für weitere Forschung auf diesem Bereich genutzt werden.
Assessing Outcomes of Online Campaigns Countering Violent Extremism: A Case Study of the Redirect Method
2018 Helmus, C. T., Klein, K. Report
The number of programs dedicated to countering violent extremism (CVE) has grown in recent years, yet a fundamental gap remains in the understanding of the effectiveness of such programs. This is particularly the case for CVE campaigns, which are increasingly conducted in the online space. The goal of this report is to help CVE campaign planners better evaluate the impact of online efforts. It reviews prior assessments of online CVE campaigns, provides recommendations for future assessments, and provides a case study of one particular CVE campaign — the Redirect Method. A limited evaluation of the Redirect Method process variables suggests that the implementers are able to use advertisements linking to counterextremist videos to effectively expose individuals searching for violent jihadist or violent far-right content to content that offers alternative narratives. Users clicked on these ads at a rate on par with industry standards. However, as is the case with other CVE evaluations, this partial evaluation did not assess the impact of the video content on user attitudes or behavior. The potentially highly radical nature of the Redirect Method's target audience makes evaluation of the campaign particularly complicated and therefore might necessitate the recruitment of former extremists to help gauge audience response. Alternatively, it might be advisable to analyze user comments to understand how a subsample of users respond to the content.
Backgrounds, Experiences and Responses to Online Hate Speech: A Comparative Cross-Country Analysis
2015 Jubany, O. and Roiha, M. Report
International- and EU-institutions are paying increasing attention to the phenomenon of online hate speech and acknowledge this as a growing problem across and beyond Europe. In this regard, the 2015 ECRI report highlights online hate speech as one of the main trends of the previous year, emphasising that “hate speech through social media is rapidly increasing and has the potential to reach a much larger audience than extremist print media were able to reach previously”. Also, UNESCO has recently focused on this growing issue, mapping and analysing the existing initiatives to combat online hate speech in their comprehensive 2015 report “Countering online hate speech".
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.
Hashtag Palestine 2018: An Overview of Digital Rights Abuses of Palestinians
2019 AbuShanab, A. Report
The report notes that in 2018, the Israeli government continued to systematically target Palestinians and the right to freedom of expression via the Internet. In the year 2018, Israeli authorities arrested around 350 Palestinians in the West Bank on charges of “incitement” because of their publications on social media. 7amleh – The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media launched its annual report on Palestinian digital rights for the year 2018. The report details violations by governments, authorities, international technology companies and Palestinian society.
The Virus of Hate: Far-Right Terrorism in Cyberspace
2020 Weimann, G. and Masri, N. Report
Founded in 1996, the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) is one of the leading academic institutes for counter-terrorism in the world, facilitating international cooperation in the global struggle against terrorism. ICT is an independent think tank providing expertise in terrorism, counter-terrorism, homeland security, threat vulnerability and risk assessment, intelligence analysis and national security and defense policy. ICT is a non-profit organization located at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya, Israel which relies exclusively on private donations and revenue from events, projects and program.
Understanding Violent Extremism: Messaging and Recruitment Strategies on Social Media in the Philippines
2018 The Asia Foundation and Rappler Report
Violent extremist activity on social media in the Philippines is a relatively new phenomenon in the complex conflict environment that exists in the southern part of the country. The rise of online violent extremism emerged despite the Philippines’ significant strides in the Mindanao peace process. The 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the government and the MILF was a landmark achievement. Yet a number of armed groups rejected the deal, many of which are now engaged in online extremism. The apparent affiliation of these groups with issues beyond Mindanao and the Philippine state signaled a potential new era of conflict in the country. With these concerns as a backdrop, The Asia Foundation and Rappler worked together to explore how young Filipinos interact with social media networks, and look into the prevalence and characteristics of violent extremist messaging and recruitment in the Philippines in 2018.
Public–Private Collaboration to Counter the Use of the Internet for Terrorist Purposes: What Can be Learnt from Efforts on Terrorist Financing?
2019 Keen, F. Report
Notwithstanding inherent differences between the counterterrorist financing regime and the regulatory regime governing communication service providers, there are clear benefits in taking lessons learnt from longstanding efforts on terrorist financing into account when developing a response to the online terrorist threat. Lawmakers developing a regulatory regime for communication service providers (CSPs) should engage with their counterparts involved in the response to terrorist financing to understand potential unintended consequences of this regime, including counterproductive incentives, risk displacement and other factors identified in this paper.
Germany's NetzDG: A key test for combatting online hate
2018 Echikson, W. and Knodt, O. Report
Germany’s Network Enforcement Act, or NetzDG law represents a key test for combatting hate speech on the internet. Under the law, which came into effect on January 1, 2018, online platforms face fines of up to €50 million for systemic failure to delete illegal content. Supporters see the legislation as a necessary and efficient response to the threat of online hatred and extremism. Critics view it as an attempt to privatise a new ‘draconian’ censorship regime, forcing social media platforms to respond to this new painful liability with unnecessary takedowns. This study shows that the reality is in between these extremes. NetzDG has not provoked mass requests for takedowns. Nor has it forced internet platforms to adopt a ‘take down, ask later’ approach. At the same time, it remains uncertain whether NetzDG has achieved significant results in reaching its stated goal of preventing hate speech. This paper begins by explaining the background that led to the development and passage of NetzDG. It examines the reaction to the law by civil society, platforms and the government. It concludes with suggestions, for platforms, civil society and the authorities, on ways to improve the law to be effective in the fight against online hate while keeping the internet open and free.