Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-swr86 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-20T03:00:48.009Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Countering Violent Extremism and Radical Rhetoric

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 May 2021

Get access

Abstract

How do extremist sympathizers respond to counter-radicalization efforts? Over the past decade, programs to counter violent extremism have mushroomed around the world, but little is known of their effectiveness. This study uses social media data to examine how counter-radicalization efforts shape engagement with extremist groups in the online world. Matching geolocated Twitter data on Islamic State sympathizers with granular information on counter-extremism activities in the United States, I find that, rather than deradicalizing, these efforts led Islamic State sympathizers to act strategically to avoid detection. After counter-extremism activities, the group's supporters on Twitter who were in the vicinity of these events began self-censoring expressions of support for the Islamic State, altered profile images and screen names, and encouraged followers to migrate to Telegram, an encrypted network not viewable by the public. These findings reveal previously unknown patterns in the effects of counter-extremism programs in the digital era.

Type
Research Note
Copyright
Copyright © The IO Foundation 2021

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Altier, Mary Beth, Thoroughgood, Christian N., and Horgan, John G.. 2014. Turning Away from Terrorism: Lessons from Psychology, Sociology, and Criminology. Journal of Peace Research 51 (5):647–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berger, J.M. 2015. Tailored Online Interventions: The Islamic State's Recruitment Strategy. CTC Sentinel 8 (10):1923.Google Scholar
Berger, J.M., and Perez, Heather. 2016. Occasional Paper: The Islamic State's Diminishing Returns on Twitter: How Suspensions Are Limiting the Social Networks of English-Speaking ISIS Supporters. Program on Extremism at George Washington University, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
Bjelopera, Jerome P. 2014. Countering Violent Extremism in the United States. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. <https://fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R42553.pdf>..>Google Scholar
Bloom, Mia, Tiflati, Hicham, and Horgan, John. 2019. Navigating ISIS's Preferred Platform: Telegram. Terrorism and Political Violence 31 (6):1242–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Briggs, Rachel. 2010. Community Engagement for Counterterrorism: Lessons from the United Kingdom. International Affairs 86 (4):971–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Carter, Joseph A., Maher, Shiraz, and Neumann, Peter R.. 2014. #Greenbirds: Measuring Importance and Influence in Syrian Foreign Fighter Networks. International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence.Google Scholar
Council on American-Islamic Relations. 2016. Brief on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). <https://www.cair.com/government_affairs/brief-on-countering-violent-extremism-cve/>..>Google Scholar
Dalgaard-Nielsen, Anja, and Schack, Patrick. 2016. Community Resilience to Militant Islamism: Who and What? An Explorative Study of Resilience in Three Danish Communities. Democracy and Security 12 (4):309–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Davey, Jacob, Birdwell, Jonathan, and Skellett, Rebecca. 2018. Counter Conversations: A Model for Direct Engagement with Individuals Showing Signs of Radicalisation Online. Institute for Strategic Dialogue.Google Scholar
Department of Homeland Security. 2015. Community Awareness Briefing: Foreign Fighter Focus. <https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/field_document/Community-Awareness-Briefing.pdf>..>Google Scholar
Dunn, Kevin Mark, Atie, Rosalie, Kennedy, Michael, Ali, Jan A., O'Reilly, John, and Rogerson, Lindsay. 2016. Can You Use Community Policing for Counter Terrorism? Evidence from NSW, Australia. Police Practice and Research 17 (3):196211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fernandez, Alberto M. 2015. Here to Stay and Growing: Combating ISIS Propaganda Networks. US-Islamic World Forum Papers 2015, Brookings Project on US Relations with the Islamic World.Google Scholar
Fishman, Brian. 2019. Crossroads: Counter-Terrorism and the Internet. Texas National Security Review 2 (2).Google Scholar
Gillum, Rachel M. 2018. Muslims in a Post-9/11 America: A Survey of Attitudes and Beliefs and Their Implications for US National Security Policy. University of Michigan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Golovchenko, Yevgeniy, Hartmann, Mareike, and Adler-Nissen, Rebecca. 2018. State, Media and Civil Society in the Information Warfare over Ukraine: Citizen Curators of Digital Disinformation. International Affairs 94 (5):975–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Greenberg, Karen J. 2016. Case by Case: ISIS Prosecutions in the United States. Center on National Security, Fordham University School of Law.Google Scholar
Hamm, Mark S., Spaaij, Ramon F.J., and Cottee, Simon. 2017. The Age of Lone Wolf Terrorism. Columbia University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Helmus, Todd C., and Klein, Kurt. 2018. Assessing Outcomes of Online Campaigns Countering Violent Extremism: A Case Study of the Redirect Method. RAND Corporation.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jackson, Brian A., Rhoades, Ashley L., Reimer, Jordan R., Lander, Natasha, Costello, Katherine, and Beaghley, Sina. 2019. Practical Terrorism Prevention. RAND Corporation.Google Scholar
Jurgens, David, Finethy, Tyler, McCorriston, James, Xu, Yi Tian, and Ruths, Derek. 2015. Geolocation Prediction in Twitter Using Social Networks: A Critical Analysis and Review of Current Practice. Proceedings of the Ninth International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media.Google Scholar
Kimmel, Michael S. 2018. Healing from Hate: How Young Men Get Into—and Out of—Violent Extremism. University of California Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
King, Gary, Pan, Jennifer, and Roberts, Margaret E.. 2013. How Censorship in China Allows Government Criticism but Silences Collective Expression. American Political Science Review 107 (2):326–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kundnani, Arun. 2009. Spooked! How Not to Prevent Violent Extremism. Institute of Race Relations. <https://www.kundnani.org/wp-content/uploads/spooked.pdf>..>Google Scholar
Leetaru, Kalev, Wang, Shaowen, Cao, Guofeng, Padmanabhan, Anand, and Shook, Eric. 2013. Mapping the Global Twitter Heartbeat: The Geography of Twitter. First Monday 18 (5).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Marwick, Alice, and Lewis, Rebecca. 2017. Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online. Data and Society Research Institute, New York.Google Scholar
Mattsson, Christer, and Johansson, Thomas. 2019. Leaving Hate Behind: Neo-Nazis, Significant Others and Disengagement. Journal for Deradicalization 18:185216.Google Scholar
Mitts, Tamar. 2019. From Isolation to Radicalization: Anti-Muslim Hostility and Support for ISIS in the West. American Political Science Review 113 (1):173–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nouri, Lella, Lorenzo-Dus, Nuria, and Watkin, Amy-Louise. 2019. Following the Whack-a-Mole: Britain First's Visual Strategy from Facebook to Gab. Paper no. 4, Global Research Network on Terrorism and Technology.Google Scholar
Pan, Jennifer, and Siegel, Alexandra. 2020. How Saudi Crackdowns Fail to Silence Online Dissent. American Political Science Review 114 (1):109–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Patel, Faiza, and German, Michael. 2015. Countering Violent Extremism: Myths and Fact. Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. <http://tinyurl.com/y6bpfexa>..>Google Scholar
Pierskalla, Jan H., and Hollenbach, Florian M.. 2013. Technology and Collective Action: The Effect of Cell Phone Coverage on Political Violence in Africa. American Political Science Review 107 (2):207–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Romaniuk, Peter. 2015. Does CVE Work? Lessons Learned from the Global Effort to Counter Violent Extremism. Global Center on Cooperative Security. <https://www.globalcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Does-CVE-Work_2015.pdf>..>Google Scholar
Steinert-Threlkeld, Zachary C. 2017. Spontaneous Collective Action: Peripheral Mobilization During the Arab Spring. American Political Science Review 111 (2):379403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tech Transparency Project. 2020. White Supremacist Groups Are Thriving on Facebook, 21 May. <https://www.techtransparencyproject.org/articles/white-supremacist-groups-are-thriving-on-facebook>..>Google Scholar
Thomas, Paul. 2010. Failed and Friendless: The UK's “Preventing Violent Extremism” Programme. British Journal of Politics and International Relations 12 (3):442–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Vermeulen, Floris. 2014. Suspect Communities: Targeting Violent Extremism at the Local Level. Policies of Engagement in Amsterdam, Berlin, and London. Terrorism and Political Violence 26 (2):286306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Vidino, Lorenzo, and Hughes, Seamus. 2015. ISIS in America: From Retweets to Raqqa. Program on Extremism, George Washington University, Washington, DC. <http://tinyurl.com/y49ucbgv>..>Google Scholar
Walter, Barbara F. 2017. The New New Civil Wars. Annual Review of Political Science 20:469–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Warren, T. Camber. 2015. Explosive Connections? Mass Media, Social Media, and the Geography of Collective Violence in African States. Journal of Peace Research 52 (3):297–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Weidmann, Nils B. 2015. Communication Networks and the Transnational Spread of Ethnic Conflict. Journal of Peace Research 52 (3):285–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yayla, Ahmet S. 2017. The Reina Nightclub Attack and the Islamic State Threat to Turkey. CTC Sentinel 10 (3).Google Scholar
Zeitzoff, Thomas. 2017. How Social Media Is Changing Conflict. Journal of Conflict Resolution 61 (9):1970–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Supplementary material: PDF

Mitts supplementary material

Mitts supplementary material

Download Mitts supplementary material(PDF)
PDF 853.6 KB
Supplementary material: Link
Link