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
Uniting the far right: how the far-right extremist, New Right, and populist frames overlap on Twitter – a German case study
2020 Ahmed, R. and Pisoiu, D. VOX-Pol Publication
Recent elections in Europe have demonstrated a steady rise in the success of right-wing populist parties. While advancing an anti-immigration agenda, these parties have been adamant to distance themselves from ‘right-wing extremism’. This article analyses a sample of tweets collected from the Twitter accounts of the German AfD, Identitarian Movement and the Autonomous Nationalists by employing frame analysis. We conclude that the frames of far-right actors classified as extremist, New Right, and populist in fact converge and we discuss our findings in the context of related case studies in other European countries.
The Online Regulation Series | The United States
2020 Tech Against Terrorism Report
Online regulation and content moderation in the United States is defined by the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act 1996, which establishes a unique level of immunity from legal liability for tech platforms. It has broadly impacted the innovation of the modern Internet, causing global effects beyond the US. Recently, however, the Trump Administration administered an executive order directing independent rules-making agencies to consider regulations that narrow the scope of Section 230 and investigate companies engaging in “unfair or deceptive” content moderation practices. This shook the online regulation framework and resulted in a wave of proposed bills and Section 230 amendments from both government and civil society.
The Online Regulation Series | India
2020 Tech Against Terrorism Report
With almost 500 million Internet users, and a history of mis- and disinformation spreading on social media and messaging apps and occasionally resulting in violence, content moderation has been a pressing issue in India for quite some time. Regulation of content is covered by different legislations under the Indian Penal Code, the Information Technology Act (ITA), and Criminal Procedure Code, and shortly under the Framework and Guideline for use of Social Media.

Terrorist use of the internet in India is mostly regulated through the criminalisation of cybercrime, covered by Section 66F of the Information Technology Act, which regulates cybercrimes and electronic commerce.
Mapping Networks and Narratives of Online Right-Wing Extremists in New South Wales
2020 Ballsun-Stanton, B., Waldek, L., Droogan, J., Smith, D., Iqbal, M. and Puecker, M. Report
The project Mapping Networks and Narratives of Online Right-Wing Extremists in New South Wales (NSW) used the systematic mining and analysis of online data to generate evidence-based insights into online right-wing extremism (RWE) across the state. The project was conducted between July 2019 and February 2020 with data collection occurring from August to November 2019. The project addressed three key areas:

- What is the nature of the online RWE environment in NSW?
- How are themes and narratives framed in different online contexts in order to mobilise support?
- What level of risk does the online RWE environment pose?

The research areas were framed as broad questions to facilitate wide exploratory research into the online RWE movement in NSW, a milieu that has been little studied. This breadth of scope was considered pertinent in the wake of the March 2019 mass casualty terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, by an attacker originating from NSW.
The Online Regulation Series | Australia
2020 Tech Against Terrorism Report
Harmful and illegal online content have been regulated in Australia since the late-1990s via the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Online Services) Act of 1999, which established the legislative framework for online content regulation in the country.
The Online Regulation Series | The Philippines
2020 Tech Against Terrorism Report
The Philippines is one of the countries worst affected by terrorism in the world, ranking as the ninth most affected country in the 2019 Global Terrorist Index. The country has long been investing in its counterterrorism apparatus and there have been some signs that the Philippines might introduce legislation that targets online terrorist content. This is to be understood in the context of a growing internet penetration rate and increased use of social media (+8.6% in 2019-2020), coupled with growing concerns for how terrorists use the internet in the country.
Die Rolle des Internets im Radikalisierungsprozess einer jihadistischen Straftäterin – eine Einzelfallstudie
2020 Baehr, D. Article
Anhand der Einzelfallstudie des Radikalisierungsprozesses einer jihadistischen Straftäterin möchte dieser Beitrag die besondere Rolle des Internets bei Radikalisierungen von Extremisten aufzeigen. Die Straftäterin war in den Jahren 2007 bis 2010 einePropagandistin, die über das Internet mehrere terroristische Vereinigungen unterstützte, indem sie deren Videobotschaften online verbreitete. In der Einzelfallstudie wird aufgezeigt, wie sich die Jihadistin durch virtuelle Kontakte, Propagandaaktivitäten sowie ihre Zusammenarbeit mit zahlreichen Jihadisten im Ausland über das Internet radikalisierte.

The Role of the Internet on Radicalization of a German Jihadist Offender: A Case Study
Based on the analysis of a case study this article raises the question about the role of the internet in accelerating the radicalization of a woman who joined the jihadist milieu in southern Germany in the mid 2000s. From 2007 to 2010 she was a jihadist activist on the internet who supported several terrorist groups by publishing videos and jihadi messages in blogs, video channels and web forums. The case study shows how the woman was radicalized through virtual contacts, interactions in virtual communities, as well as through her support of several jihadists abroad.
The Online Regulation Series | Pakistan
2020 Tech Against Terrorism Report
Over the last five years, Pakistan has introduced various measures aimed at regulating terrorist content online, including the 2020 Citizen Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules which directly targets content posted on social media, and the 2016 Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act which prohibits use of the internet for terrorist purposes.

These regulations supplement the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 (ATA) that provides the baseline legal framework for counterterrorism measures in the country. The ATA does not specifically target terrorist use of the internet, however, it considers the dissemination of digital content “which glorifies terrorists or terrorist activities” to be an offence – under section 11W. The same section also prohibits the dissemination of content that incite to hatred or “gives projection” to a terrorist actor.
The Online Regulation Series | Singapore
2020 Tech Against Terrorism Report
Singapore is often deemed to be Asia’s main tech hub and a top global alternative to the Silicon Valley. Many of the world’s major tech platforms – including GIFCT founders Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Youtube – have their headquarters for the Asia Pacific region in the Singapore. The government has been active in supporting the tech sector, advocating for an approach that promotes industry self-regulation and strong intellectual property laws.
Incels online reframing sexual violence
2020 Byerly, C. M. Article
This small-scale study brings attention to the way the news media cover the enabling role of computer technology and social media in coalescing online communities focused on the hatred of women and the promotion of violence. While that aggression is ultimately and typically carried out against both women and men, it is specifically misogyny which underlies it. The way that the broader public receives information about incels – involuntary celebates with misogynistic and often violent tendencies – and their atrocities is through the news media, both traditional and internet. This study complements related research on misogynistic language used by social media sites like Reddit by examining the news media’s language in coverage of incels’ behavior associated with sexual aggression. The research applies qualitative procedures (textual analysis) and a critical feminist framework to identify the gender relations associated with incels online in news for the years 2018 and 2019.
Status quo und Massnahmen zu rassistischer Hassrede im Internet: Übersicht und Empfehlungen
2020 Stahel, L. Report
Rassistische Hassrede im Internet: Wie soll die Schweiz in Zukunft damit umgehen? Der vorliegende Bericht, welchen die Fachstelle für Rassismusbekämpfung (FRB) in Auftrag gegeben hat, liefert dazu einen Beitrag. Er beinhaltet eine kritische Zusammenfassung der Datenlage, einen Einblick in die digitale Umwelt und egünstigenden Kommunikationsbedingungen rassistischer Online-Hassrede sowie einen Überblick zu bestehenden Gegenmassnahmen in der Schweiz und im Ausland. Schliesslich werden die Herausforderungen und Anliegen von Schweizer Verwaltungsstellen, Beratungsstellen und privaten Organisationen identifiziert und Handlungsempfehlungen für die StahelSchweiz abgegeben.
Beyond Limiting and Countering: How to Promote Quality Content to Prevent Violent Extremism and Terrorism on Online Platforms
2020 Barata, J. Report
This paper analyses the policy and legal implications related to the promotion of quality online content that supports and reinforces institutional and societal efforts to prevent, counteract and deflate radical discourses leading to violent behaviour. This analysis will focus on content disseminated via online platforms or intermediaries, and in particular on the intermediaries providing hosting services, who offer a relatively wide range of services for online storage, distribution, and sharing; social networking, collaborating and gaming; or searching and referencing.
Artificial Intelligence and Countering Violent Extremism: A Primer
2020 Schroeter, M. Report
Radicalisation can take place offline as well as online. To what extent the internet plays a role remains contested. Doubtless, there are radical and extreme communities online. This report looked into the ability of artificial intelligence (AI) applications to contribute to countering radicalisation. Mapping the possibilities and limitations of this technology in its various forms, the report aims to support decision‑makers and experts navigate the noise, leading to informed decisions unswayed by the current hype.
An Exploration of the Involuntary Celibate (Incel) Subculture Online
2020 Liggett O’Malley, R. and Holt, K.M. Article
Incels, a portmanteau of the term involuntary celibates, operate in online communities to discuss difficulties in attaining sexual relationships. Past reports have found that multiple elements of the incel culture are misogynistic and favorable towards violence. Further, several violent incidents have been linked to this community, which suggests that incel communities may resemble other ideologically motivated extremist groups. The current study employed an inductive qualitative analysis of over 8,000 posts made in two online incel communities to identify the norms, values, and beliefs of these groups from a subcultural perspective. Analyses found that the incel community was structured around five interrelated normative orders: the sexual market, women as naturally evil, legitimizing masculinity, male oppression, and violence. The implications of this analysis for our understanding of extremism and the role of the internet in radicalization to violence are considered in depth.
Research Note: More Bucks, Still No Bangs? Why a Cost-Benefit Analysis of Cyberterrorism Still Holds True
2020 Giacomello, G. Article
Taking as reference a cost-benefit analysis of cyberterrorism published in 2004 by Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, this article briefly reviews what happened in the last 15 years in cyberterrorism research, what was correctly forecast, what was wrong and what may happen in the future. Some of the analyses published in during this period have been accurate, indicating that terrorists would use the Web and then social media for supporting operations in financing, recruiting and, especially “propaganda” (information operations), instead of wasting resources in ineffectual cyberattacks against critical infrastructures. The same analyses, however, did not appreciate enough how successful information operations by terrorist groups would have been. Overall, the approach, research methods, findings and forecasting have been quite valid and fruitful and thus they can represent a solid foundation on which scholars of (cyber)terrorism may base their future research.
Online Extremism: Research Trends in Internet Activism, Radicalization, and Counter-Strategies
2020 Winter, C., Neumann, P., Meleagrou-Hitchens, A., Ranstorp, M., Vidino, L. and Fürst, J. Article
This article reviews the academic literature on how and for what purposes violent extremists use the Internet, at both an individual and organizational level. After defining key concepts like extremism, cyber-terrorism and online radicalization, it provides an overview of the virtual extremist landscape, tracking its evolution from static websites and password-protected forums to mainstream social media and encrypted messaging apps. The reasons why violent extremist organizations use online tools are identified and evaluated, touching on propaganda, recruitment, logistics, funding, and hacking. After this, the article turns to the ways violent extremist individuals use the Internet, discussing its role as a facilitator for socialization and learning. The review concludes by considering the emergent literature on how violent extremism is being countered online, touching on both defensive and offensive measures.
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.
Hiding hate speech: political moderation on Facebook
2020 Kalsnes, B. and Ihlebæk, K.A. Article
Facebook facilitates more extensive dialogue between citizens and politicians. However, communicating via Facebook has also put pressure on political actors to administrate and moderate online debates in order to deal with uncivil comments. Based on a platform analysis of Facebook’s comment moderation functions and interviews with eight political parties’ communication advisors, this study explored how political actors conduct comment moderation. The findings indicate that these actors acknowledge being responsible for moderating debates. Since turning off the comment section is impossible in Facebook, moderators can choose to delete or hide comments, and these arbiters tend to use the latter in order to avoid an escalation of conflicts. The hide function makes comments invisible to participants in the comment section, but the hidden texts remain visible to those who made the comment and their network. Thus, the users are unaware of being moderated. In this paper, we argue that hiding problematic speech without the users’ awareness has serious ramifications for public debates, and we examine the ethical challenges associated with the lack of transparency in comment sections and the way moderation is conducted in Facebook.
Online influence, offline violence: language use on YouTube surrounding the ‘Unite the Right’ rally
2020 van der Vegt, I., Mozes, M., Gill, P. and Kleinberg, B. Article
The media frequently describes the 2017 Charlottesville ‘Unite the Right’ rally as a turning point for the alt-right and white supremacist movements. Social movement theory suggests that the media attention and public discourse concerning the rally may have engendered changes in social identity performance and visibility of the alt-right, but this has yet to be empirically tested. The presence of the movement on YouTube is of particular interest, as this platform has been referred to as a breeding ground for the alt-right. The current study investigates whether there are differences in language use between 7142 alt-right and progressive YouTube channels, in addition to measuring possible changes as a result of the rally. To do so, we create structural topic models and measure bigram proportions in video transcripts, spanning approximately 2 months before and after the rally. We observe differences in topics between the two groups, with the ‘alternative influencers’, for example, discussing topics related to race and free speech to a larger extent than progressive channels. We also observe structural breakpoints in the use of bigrams at the time of the rally, suggesting there are changes in language use within the two groups as a result of the rally. While most changes relate to mentions of the rally itself, the alternative group also shows an increase in promotion of their YouTube channels. In light of social movement theory, we argue that language use on YouTube shows that the Charlottesville rally indeed triggered changes in social identity performance and visibility of the alt-right.
Network-Enabled Anarchy: How Militant Anarcho-Socialist Networks Use Social Media to Instigate Widespread Violence Against Political Opponents and Law Enforcement
2020 Finkelstein, J., Goldenberg, A., Stevens, S., Jussim, L., Farmer, J., Donohue, J.K. and Paresky, P. Report
Our primary research question was whether memes and codewords, private or fringe online forums, and hybrid real-world/online militia—the three characteristic tactics that support outbreaks of extremist violence for both Jihadi and Boogaloo extremism—are also prevalent in anti-fascist and anarcho-socialist groups. To analyze the use and prevalence of memes and other coded language and activity, we performed analyses on over ten million social media comments ranging from mainstream platforms (such as Twitter) to fringe online forums on Reddit. Throughout the research, we examined whether the same extremist themes and actions that are characteristic of both Jihadi and Boogaloo extremists—themes such as violent revolution, martyrdom, and having a utopian narrative, and actions such as terror attacks—are also found in extremist groups espousing anti-fascism and anarcho-socialism.
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