Internet and Terrorism

This is part one of a two-part series; the second part is HERE. By Anne Speckhard, Ardian Shajkovci, Lorand Bodo & Haris Fazliu It is estimated that of the 38,000 foreign fighters who have joined Sunni militant groups, such as ISIS and al-Nusra, in Iraq and Syria, upwards of 875 have originated from the Balkans,…

By Maura Conway and Michael Courtney Jihadi magazines have a long pedigree, are the subject of extensive media coverage and scholarly analysis,[1] and are still easily accessible online. In a recent book chapter, ‘Online Jihadi Instructional Content: The Role of Magazines,’ Conway, Parker, and Looney,  focused on the instructional content, both text and images, published in…

By Ryan Scrivens and Garth Davies Violent extremists and those who subscribe to radical beliefs have left their digital footprints online since the inception of the World Wide Web. Notable examples include Anders Breivik, the Norwegian far-right terrorist convicted of killing 77 people in 2011, who was a registered member of a white supremacy web forum and had ties…

Content removal on social media platforms often takes place through semi-automated or automated processes. Algorithms are widely used for content filtering and content removal processes1, including on social media platforms, directly impacting freedom of expression and raising rule of law concerns (e.g. questions of legality, legitimacy and proportionality). While large social media platforms like Google or Facebook have…

By André Gagné and Marc-André Argentino The Islamic State has lost most of its territory and key cities like Mosul and Raqqa, and more recently Deir al-Zour and al-Qaim, have fallen to the global coalition fighting the terrorist group. In the face of such challenges, it’s tried to maintain legitimacy through what some have called a virtual caliphate. Within…

By Thomas Holt, Joshua D. Freilich and Steven Chermak In the wake of an explosion in London on September 15, President Trump called for cutting off extremists’ access to the Internet. Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner.The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off & use better! — Donald J.…

By Sophia Cope, Jillian C. York, and Jeremy Gillula In recent months, social media platforms—under pressure from a number of governments—have adopted new policies and practices to remove content that promotes terrorism. As the Guardian reported, these policies are typically carried out by low-paid contractors (or, in the case of YouTube, volunteers) and with little to…

By Lorand Bodo The UK think-tank Policy Exchange recently published a new report on the struggle against online jihadist extremism, or what its authors call “the New Netwar”. The report argues that we are currently struggling to find appropriate ways to combat online jihadist extremism and therefore losing the war online against the so-called ‘Islamic State’ (ISIS).…

Since late 2016, researchers came to acknowledge both ISIS’ territorial decline and much reduced visibility on mainstream social media networks. They note that its online community of supporters have migrated to encrypted communication channels and that its territory in the Levant has shrunk considerably, which—according to a recent ICSR estimate—impacted on the organisation’s financial resources.…