Internet and Terrorism

By Luke Munn “From where did you receive/research/develop your beliefs? The Internet, of course.” ~ Brenton Tarrant On Friday, March 15th 2019, at 1:40pm, Brenton Tarrant walked into the first of two mosques in central Christchurch and began shooting indiscriminately, leading to the deaths of 50 people. Already there has been speculation about what drove…

By Nancy Jamal In the aftermath of the Christchurch attack, attention has been drawn to the role of mass media in the aftermath of such attacks, including by the UK’s most senior counter-terrorism police officer, Neil Basu. Last week’s Blog post also addressed responsible reporting, as does Virginie Andre’s report Understanding the Impact of Terrorist Event Reporting on Countering…

By Adam G. Klein When a U.S. senator asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “Can you define hate speech?” it was arguably the most important question that social networks face: how to identify extremism inside their communities. Hate crimes in the 21st century follow a familiar pattern in which an online tirade escalates into violent actions.…

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 Lorand Bodo Understanding terrorists’ use of the Internet is of paramount importance, especially in the context of today’s digital efforts to counter violent extremism. In particular, IS and its unprecedented, successful, multilingual and multimedia online campaigns have led to a surge of academic interest across the globe since 2014. Tech and social media companies…

Earlier this month (9 Nov.), Hassan Khalif Shire Ali (30) carried out a terrorist attack on Bourke Street mall in Melbourne, Australia in which he stabbed one person to death and injured two others. Attention immediately turned to whether Shire Ali was in direct–potemtially online–contact with so-called ‘Islamic State’ (IS). The Australian Federal Police later said…

By Daniel Baldino & Kosta Lucas The Internet’s precise role in the process of radicalisation remains vexing. You can lead a person to a bomb-making manual, but you can’t make them use it. Radicalisation is a social process. It refers to a means by which an individual or group embraces an extreme ideology and rejects…

By Peter King When the so-called Islamic State ramped up its media operation in the summer of 2014 to promote its territorial advances across Iraq and Syria, terrorism researchers who had been in the business for a decade or more were forced to take a step back and reconsider the effect the propaganda was having…