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

Spreading the Message Digitally: A Look into Extremist Organizations’ Use of the Internet
2015 Davies, G., Frank,R., Bouchard,M. and Mei, J. Chapter
Why would a terrorist choose to utilize the Internet rather than the usual methods of assassination, hostage taking, and guerrilla warfare? Conway (2006) identified five major reasons why extremist groups used the Internet: virtual community building, information provision, recruitment, financing, and risk mitigation. Terrorist and extremist organizations can use the Internet to increase their visibility and provide information about the group along with its goals without posing an increased risk to the members. It also allows them to easily ask for, and accept, donations through anonymous financial services such as Dark Coins. These benefits allow these groups to promote awareness of their cause, to convey their message to, and perhaps foster sympathy from a much larger pool of potential supporters and converts (Weimann 2010). Finally, the Internet also provides asynchronous services with global access, with the sender and recipient located at any place, at any time, without the need to link up at a specific time (Wagner 2005). In short, unlike the real world, cyberspace is borderless without limitation, and this makes identification, verification, and attribution a challenge.
Production of Solidarities in YouTube : a Visual Study of Uyghur Nationalism
2013 Vergani, M. and Zuev, D. Chapter
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.
Golden Dawn, Austerity and Young People: The Rise of Fascist Extremism among Young People in Contemporary Greek Society
2015 Koronaiou, A., Lagos, E., Sakellariou, A., Kymionis, S. and Chiotaki-Poulou, I. Chapter
The contemporary rise of popular support for fascism is investigated in this article through an examination of Golden Dawn's remarkable appeal to a section of Greek youth. This leads to the problematization of mainstream explanatory and interpretive discourses that attribute Golden Dawn's electoral and political attractiveness almost exclusively to anger and a will to punish the political system which is regarded as being responsible for the country's collapse and the harsh consequences of austerity and recession. Drawing upon the findings of ethnographic research on Golden Dawn and its young voters’ and supporters’ ideology and political activism conducted as part of the MYPLACE project, we argue that Golden Dawn's young voters and supporters are much more than angry youth. Their choice to support a fascist political agenda and practice cannot be reduced solely to an emotional reaction to the crisis but rests on wider ideological and political affinities and links that have been building over the previous two or three decades. In this sense, the contemporary rise of fascism in Greece appears as not merely a straightforward and simple outcome of the crisis but the complex result of previous socio-political transformations, sharpened, magnified and accelerated by the current systemic crash.
Countering and Understanding Terrorism Extremism and Radicalisation in a Big Data Age
2016 Bunnik, A. Chapter
Anno Bunnik explores the ramifications of Big Data for countering terrorism, extremism, and radicalisation. With the recent rise of jihadists and other extremists groups in the Middle East and Europe, how do state agencies respond through the use of Big Data? This chapter critically engages with questions such as the extent to which Big Data can inform us about and help prevent radicalisation. It deals with the role of non-governmental organisations and the private sector in this regard. Bunnik makes the argument that whilst it is inevitable that Big Data will take centre stage in counter-terrorism, its potential should also be utilised to better understand radicalisation and extremism.
Wie Cyberterrorismus stattfindet - und warum wir ihn nicht sehen
2020 Enghofer, S., Müller, D. and Parrino, A. Chapter
Verschwörungstheorien von im Untergrund herrschenden „Echsenmenschen“ oder einer „flachen Erde“ mögen in den Augen eines aufgeklärten Menschen abwegig und bizarr erscheinen, doch tatsächlich erfahren diese Narrative dank dem Internet erhöhte Beachtung. Schon lange sind Ufos, die „false-flag-Anschläge“ von 9/11 und die gefälschte Mondlandung Teil eines virtuellen Erklärungsangebots an Menschen, die grundsätzliches Misstrauen gegenüber traditionellen Medien oder dem „Mainstream-Glauben“ hegen. Während diese Devianz in der bisherigen Form keine oder kaum Auswirkungen auf gesellschaftliche Prozesse hatte, ist ab 2016 eine Zeitenwende erkennbar. Verschiedene Indizien geben Anlass zur Sorge, denn obwohl sog. „alternative Fakten“ – Falschmeldungen, Fake-News und Desinformationen – keine gänzlich neuen politischen Phänomene darstellen, erhöht sich deren virulente Wirkung durch das Internet. Dabei sticht insbesondere ein Vorfall hervor, der als Präzedenzfall einer Wirklichkeitsmanipulation mit weitreichender Implikation gelten kann: #Pizzagate.
Countering and Understanding Terrorism, Extremism, and Radicalisation in a Big Data Age
2016 Bunnik, A. Chapter
Anno Bunnik explores the ramifications of Big Data for countering terrorism, extremism, and radicalisation. With the recent rise of jihadists and other extremists groups in the Middle East and Europe, how do state agencies respond through the use of Big Data? This chapter critically engages with questions such as the extent to which Big Data can inform us about and help prevent radicalisation. It deals with the role of non-governmental organisations and the private sector in this regard. Bunnik makes the argument that whilst it is inevitable that Big Data will take centre stage in counter-terrorism, its potential should also be utilised to better understand radicalisation and extremism.
Neue technologische Mittel des neuen Terrorismus
2017 Goertz, S. Chapter
Seit Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts besteht innerhalb der sozialwissenschaftlichen Forschung der Konsens, dass die technologischen Möglichkeiten des Internets von vitaler Bedeutung für den islamistischen Terrorismus sind (Corman 2011; Cornish& Lindley-French&Yorke 2011; Fink&Barclay 2013). Verschiedene Studien bewerten die Existenz des Internets gar als Voraussetzung dafür, dass eine terroristische Organisation wie Al Qaida bereits länger als 20 Jahre existiert, während empirisch betrachtet terroristische Gruppen durchschnittlich weniger als ein Jahr lang bestehen (Archetti 2015; Theohary&Rollins 2011). Ebenso unbestritten ist, dass der „Islamische Staat“ (IS) ohne die Existenz des Internets und der sozialen Medien nicht solch dramatisch viele europäische und westliche Anhänger für seinen Jihad in Syrien und im Irak und für terroristische Anschläge in westlichen Staaten hätte gewinnen können (Goertz 2016; Brooking 2015).
The Role of Internet Intermediaries in Tackling Terrorism online
2017 Cohen-Almagor, R. Chapter
Gatekeeping is defined as the work of third parties “who are able to disrupt misconduct by withholding their cooperation from wrongdoers.”1 Internet intermediaries need to be far more proactive as gatekeepers than they are now. Socially responsible measures can prevent the translation of violent thoughts into violent actions. Designated monitoring mechanisms can potentially prevent such unfortunate events. This Article suggests an approach that harnesses the strengths and capabilities of the public and private sectors in offering practical solutions to pressing problems. It proposes that internet intermediaries should fight stringently against terror and further argues that a responsible gatekeeping approach is good for business.

Part I defines terror. Next, Part II discusses the role of social networking sites in facilitating terror and argues that principles of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) should dictate censorship of online terror. Part III shows that the great internet companies are slowly coming to understand that with great power comes great responsibility. Part IV then argues that internet intermediaries have a role to play beyond providing a platform to anyone with something to say. Social responsibility dictates some minimal standards of gatekeeping without which mayhem and destruction will ensue unabated. The policy of “anything goes” is self-defeating and irresponsible. Internet companies are expected to show readiness to work with governments to hinder terror activities. The industry should be encouraged to be proactive.
The Challenges and Limitations of Online Counter-Narratives in the Fight against ISIS Recruitment in Europe and North America
2017 Meleagrou-Hitchens, A. Chapter
The rise of the Islamic State has contributed to both an increased terrorism threat in Western nations and an unprecedented number of citizens joining the group of so-called foreign fighters. IS has used the internet as a way to both disseminate propaganda and radicalize and recruit supporters. This article will begin by analyzing some of the most recent and well-known of such efforts, offering explanations for their successes and failures. The author then assesses limitations to combatting extremist ideas. Not only must the solution involve civil society, but a recalibration of the meaning and aims of counter-messaging is needed.
Internet Censorship in the United Kingdom: National Schemes and European Norms
2018 McIntyre, T.J. Chapter
The United Kingdom (UK) has been at the vanguard of online censorship in democracies from the beginning of the modern internet. Since the mid-1990s the government has developed distinctive patterns of regulation – targeting intermediaries, using the bully pulpit to promote ‘voluntary’ self-regulation, and promoting automated censorship tools such as web blocking – which have been influential internationally but raise significant issues of legitimacy, transparency and accountability. This chapter examines this UK experience in light of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and EU law, arguing that in key regards current censorship practices fail to meet European standards.

The chapter builds on the existing literature in two main ways. First, it assesses emerging censorship practices in the area of terrorist material and extreme pornography. Second, it considers how recent EU legislation and ECtHR case law might constrain the freedom of the UK government and force a move towards different models of censorship.

The chapter starts by outlining the regulatory context. It then takes three case studies – Child Abuse Material (CAM), terrorist material, and pornography/extreme pornography under the Digital Economy Act 2017 – and traces how censorship has evolved from one context to the next. These systems are then evaluated against the standards set by European law and in particular Articles 6 and 10 ECHR, the Open Internet Regulation, and the Directives on Sexual Abuse of Children and on Combating Terrorism.
Online Jihadi Instructional Content: The Role of Magazines
2017 Conway, M., Parker, J. and Looney, S. Chapter
This chapter focuses on the instructional content, both text and images, published in 26 issues of three jihadi magazines: Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s Inspire, Inspire’s forerunner Jihad Recollections, and Somali Al-Shabab’s Gaidi M’taani. Instruction was found to be a core component of Inspire as distinct from the varying types and levels of instruction appearing in Jihad Recollections and Gaidi M’taani. Noticeable too was that the text and images composing bomb-making instructional guides were not only the commonest, but also the most detailed types of guides contained in Inspire, with both a high number of images and lengthy supporting text. A clear finding is thus that the purpose of AQAP’s Inspire was not just to inspire readers, in the sense of infusing them with some thought or feeling, but also to supply them with instructions on how these thoughts or feelings could be violently actuated.
Tweeting Terror: An Analysis of the Norwegian Twitter-sphere during and in the Aftermath of the 22 July 2011 Terrorist Attack
2018 Steensen S. Chapter
This chapter analyses the Norwegian Twitter-sphere during and in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Norway on 22 July 2011. Based on a collection of 2.2 million tweets representing the Twitter-sphere during the period 20 July–28 August 2011, the chapter seeks answers to how the micro-blogging services aided in creating situation awareness (SA) related to the emergency event, what role hashtags played in that process and who the dominant crisis communicators were. The chapter is framed by theories and previous research on SA and social media use in the context of emergency events. The findings reveal that Twitter was important in establishing SA both during and in the aftermath of the terrorist attack, that hashtags were of limited value in this process during the critical phase, and that unexpected actors became key communicators.
Book edited by Harald Hornmoen and Klas Backholm
Victims’ Use of Social Media during and after the Utøya Terror Attack: Fear, Resilience, Sorrow and Solidarity
2018 Frey E. Chapter
This chapter examines how those directly affected by the terror attack on Utøya in Norway on 22 July 2011 used social media to cope with the trauma. Through interviews with eight survivors and a study of their Facebook walls during the first month after the shooting, the chapter sets out to answer how they tell and re-tell the trauma on Facebook. In what way does their re-telling of the terror event give it meaning? With Narrative Therapy as its inspiration, this chapter studies different themes and stories on the Facebook walls, what is told about the event, its effects and responses to it. The meaning derived from the trauma is a story of national unity, democratic values and the redefining of Norway as a multicultural society. As for the perpetrator, he is written out of the story.
Book edited by Harald Hornmoen and Klas Backholm
Blood and Security during the Norway Attacks: Authorities’ Twitter Activity and Silence
2018 Ottosen R., Steensen S. Chapter
This chapter analyses the Norwegian authorities’ presence on Twitter during the 22 July 2011 terrorist attacks. Twitter activity by two official institutions is analysed in particular, namely, the blood bank at Oslo University Hospital and the Norwegian Police Security Services (PST). Our findings show that the Norwegian authorities were almost completely absent on Twitter during the critical hours of the terrorist attack, and that there was no coordination and synchronisation of communication from the authorities. This official silence allowed the diffusion of speculation and misinformation to take place; these were neither corrected nor addressed, as the analysed PST case shows. In contrast, the blood bank used Twitter to mobilise blood donors to address an acute problem: a shortage of blood to treat casualties. The chapter concludes by offering recommendations to the authorities for future major incidents. Book edited by Harald Hornmoen and Klas Backholm.
Social Media in Management of the Terror Crisis in Norway: Experiences and Lessons Learned
2018 Hornmoen H. , Måseide H. P. Chapter
The chapter addresses the question of how crisis and emergency communicators in the justice (police) and health sector in Norway reflect on their use – or lack of use – of social media during the terror crisis on 22 July 2011. We examine how these communicators in the years following the crisis have developed their use of social media to optimise their and the public’s awareness of similar crises. Our semi-structured interviews with key emergency managers and responders display how the terrorist-induced crisis in 2011 was a wake-up call for communicators in the police and the health sector. They reflect on the significance, strengths and weaknesses of social media in the management of crises such as this one. Book edited by Harald Hornmoen and Klas Backholm
News Workers’ Reflections on Digital Technology and Social Media after a Terror Event
2018 Konow-Lund T. M. Chapter
22 July 2011, saw the biggest domestic terror event in Norway since World War II. On this day, a right-wing terrorist placed a bomb in front of the Norwegian government building, where the prime minister had his office at the time. Later, the same perpetrator dressed up as a policeman and tricked his way into a political youth camp, where 69 mostly young people were killed. The present case study involves the leading national online news provider, VG, whose website, VG Nett, was Norway’s most-read online news site at the time of the attack. The study addresses the research gap of how news workers and managers see the potential of the affordances of digital media during crisis events. Furthermore, the study looks at how two different discourses of professionalism, the occupational and the organisational, informed journalists’ use of technological and social media affordances during this terror event, and at how online journalists and management reflect upon and continue to refine these approaches five years later. This study stresses the importance of a clear understanding of the decision-making processes that actually guide the handling of those affordances during a crisis event. Ultimately, this study questions not the perceived tension between the two discourses of professionalism, but their relative impact upon domestic crisis journalism in the technological realm. Book edited by Harald Hornmoen and Klas Backholm.
What Eye Movements and Facial Expressions Tell Us about User-Friendliness: Testing a Tool for Communicators and Journalists
2018 Lindholm J., Backholm K., and Högväg J. Chapter
Technical solutions can be important when key communicators take on the task of making sense of social media flows during crises. However, to provide situation awareness during high-stress assignments, usability problems must be identified and corrected. In usability studies, where researchers investigate the user-friendliness of a product, several types of data gathering methods can be combined. Methods may include subjective (surveys and observations) and psychophysiological (e.g. skin conductance and eye tracking) data collection. This chapter mainly focuses on how the latter type can provide detailed clues about user-friendliness. Results from two studies are summarised. The tool tested is intended to help communicators and journalists with monitoring and handling social media content during times of crises. Book Edited by Harald Hornmoen and Klas Backhoem.
Social Media and Situation Awareness during Terrorist Attacks: Recommendations for Crisis Communication
2018 Steensen S., Frey E., Hornmoen H., Ottosen R., Konow-Lund T. M., Chapter
This chapter summarises the findings of a case study on social media activity during the 22 July 2011 terrorist attacks in Norway. Based on these findings and on theories and previous research on the role of social media in situation awareness (SA) configuration during crisis situations, the chapter offers seven recommendations for key communicators in official crisis management and response institutions, journalistic institutions, NGOs and others: (1) acknowledge social media as important and master monitoring and management of features across social media; (2) synchronise communication and establish a standard operating procedure (SOP); (3) establish and make known a joint social media emergency account; (4) participate, interact and take the lead; (5) be aware of non-hashtagged content; (6) implement verification tools and practices and (7) engage with and learn from celebrities. Book edited by Harald Hornmoen and Klas Backholm
The Social Structure of Extremist Websites
2020 Bouchard, M., Davies, G., Frank, R., Wu, E. and Joffres, K. Chapter
In this study, we select the official websites of four known extremist groups and map the networks of hyperlinked websites forming a virtual community around them. The networks are constructed using a custom-built webcrawler (TENE: Terrorism and Extremism Network Extractor) that searches the HTML of a website for all the hyperlinks inserted directing to other websites (Bouchard et al., 2014). Following all of these hyperlinks out of the initial website of interest produces the network of websites forming a community that is more or less cohesive, more or less extensive, and more or less devoted to the same cause (Bouchard and Westlake, 2016; Westlake and Bouchard, 2016). The extent to which the official website of a group contains many hyperlinks towards external websites may be an indicator of a more active community, and it may be indicative of a more active social movement.