Countering Violent Extremism

By Anne Speckhard and Ardian Shajkovci With the collapse of the so-called “Islamic State” in Iraq, and much of Syria, an immediate corresponding and steady decline occurred in ISIS’ strategic communication and online propaganda activities. However, the group’s “virtual Caliphate” is rebounding and still remains very much alive today – it continues to create new content,…

VOX-Pol contributed to the inaugural Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) Civil Society Empowerment Programme (CSEP) campaigns event in Brussels this week. We therefore thought we’d share some insights from a previous RAN event focused on online CVE. [Ed.] Introduction It is an essential part of extremist propaganda and outreach to not only communicate their messages to…

By Mehwish Rani Daesh and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are two competitor militant organisations in Pakistan. Although, Daesh has no organisational presence in the country, small groups inspired by it have carried out attacks in the name of the organisation. Both organisations publish propaganda magazines to, amongst other things, gain new recruits. While Daesh published approximately…

By Anne Speckhard, Ardian Shajkovci & Lorand Bodo This blog post synopsises a study that attempted to intervene with over fifty English-speaking Facebook accounts endorsing, promoting, and following ISIS. Methodology and Research Design For this study, several anonymized Facebook accounts were used to identify English-speaking radicalized Facebook profiles as our target for an online counter-narrative intervention.…

By Lorand Bodo On 25–26 April 2018, a major multinational digital content takedown operation was conducted against the Islamic State (IS). The operation targeted the major online media outlets directly associated with IS. The operation was reportedly successful in collecting digital evidence about IS activities, including the seizure of servers located in Canada, the Netherlands…

By Alexander Ritzmann The Propaganda Process Is online propaganda really effective? How can it be countered? And what can practitioners of Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) and policymakers learn from the research findings of other relevant disciplines, such as anthropology, psychology and neuroscience? Propaganda, understood here as the strategic communication of ideas aiming at manipulating specific target…

By Haroro J. Ingram & Alastair Reed In Part I of this series, the authors presented the key findings of the CTSC Project’s latest publication titled “Islamic State’s English-language Magazines, 2014-17: Trends & Implications for CT-CVE Strategic Communications”. It began by highlighting the limitations inherent to studies of ISIS’s English language messaging before identifying the first…

VOX-Pol convened an invitation-only workshop titled ‘Countering Violent Extremism Online and the Impact on Civil Liberties’ Berkman Klein Centre for Internet and Society at Harvard University on 23 – 24 October 2017. The purpose of the workshop was to explore the challenges and opportunities facing actors engaged in countering violent extremism online, particularly the impact of content…

By Samantha North On 27 and 28 June, in a sleepy Welsh city by the sea, a group of social media and terrorism researchers came together to discuss the latest challenges in the field. I learned a lot, met people doing admirable work and came away inspired with ideas to shape my own research in the…

The Terrorism and Social Media Conference (TASM) was held on 27 to 28 June in Swansea University. The event kicked off with a keynote speech by Prof. Bruce Hoffman from Georgetown University entitled “The Threat From ISIS and al Qaeda: Contextualising the Role of Social Media” in which he emphasised that social media has played a serious…