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GNET Research Digest – February 2023

GNET Research Digest – February 2023
18th July 2023 GNET Team
In Research Digest

Welcome to the February edition of the Global Network on Extremism and Technology (GNET) research digest.

Your digest contains a selection of relevant news, research, academic journal articles, and GNET Insights relating to terrorist use of technology.

Islamic State Online: A Look at the Group’s South Asian Presence on Alternative Platforms
GNET Report Launch Event
Tuesday 28 February, 1700 GMT/1200 EST

Where: Online, via Zoom
When: Tuesday, February 28th 2023, 1700 GMT / 1200 EST
What: 30-minute presentation of report findings, followed by 30-minute moderated Q&A

The Global Network on Extremism and Technology (GNET) invites you to attend an online report launch for Suraj Ganesan and Mohammed Sinan’s new GNET Report ‘Islamic State Online: A Look at the Group’s South Asian Presence on Alternate Platforms’.

The event will comprise of a 30-minute presentation of the report findings, followed by a 30-minute moderated Q&A.

In 2019, Telegram took extensive action to remove Islamic State (IS) channels and supporters of the group from its platform. Telegram’s crackdown led to the attempted migration of IS supporters to apps like Hoop Messenger, Rocket.Chat and TamTam, with Hoop Messenger the most popular encrypted social media platform for IS supporters. However, IS lost significant numbers of supporters in the migration from Telegram to these lesser‐known platforms. These platforms are less than a tenth as popular as Telegram and do not offer the convenience of Telegram. IS has voiced frustration at its lack of followers in many of the groups analysed by the authors. At the time of writing, there are no in‐depth analyses on the number of IS’s supporters on these new platforms and the narratives they propagate.

This report provides an analysis of the migration of IS supporters in South Asia to Hoop Messenger. The authors collated data from more than 25 South Asia‐centric channels from 2019 until Hoop Messenger was shut down in October 2022. This report identifies distinct variation among IS narratives across channels dedicated to individual states in South Asia. For example, in channels dedicated to Afghanistan, narratives criticised the Taliban for not being Islamic enough. In channels dedicated to Pakistan, narratives focused on criticism of the state for allying with the United States. Indian IS channels focused on the mistreatment of and violence towards Muslims. In Bangladesh IS channels, the narrative focused on reconnecting Bangladesh and its citizens with their Muslim roots.

About the authors:
Suraj Ganesan is an independent researcher focussing on terrorism and insurgency in South Asia. He was previously a Geopolitical Risk Analyst with MAX security solutions, working in the sub-Saharan African division. Prior to that, he worked as a Counter-Terrorism Analyst with COVINTS. His research areas include radical narratives and ideologies and the dynamics between conflict and climate change in the African continent.

Mohammed Sinan Siyech is a doctoral scholar at the University of Edinburgh and a non-resident Associate Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi. Previously, he was a Senior Analyst with the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR), a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. He has written and spoken extensively on Foreign Policy, Security and Extremism in South Asia and the Middle East.  

Read the report here

Misogyny, Gaming, and Radicalisation: Global Expressions and Analyses
EGRN & GNET Online Workshop
Tuesday 7 March, 1500 GMT/1600 CET

When: Tuesday 7 March 2023, 1600-1730 CET / 1500-1630 GMT / 1000-1130 EST / 0700-0830 PST
Where: Online, via Zoom

Join our panel of researchers and practitioners from the Extremism and Gaming Research Network (EGRN) as we discuss how misogyny contributes to how and why people might engage with extremism in online gaming spaces.

We’ll explore how various expressions of sexism and misogyny from around the globe interact with each other in the transnational online space that is online gaming, including how and why sexist and misogynist behaviour and language are allowed and even encouraged in some gaming sub-cultures.

Additionally, we will discuss how misogyny is both a gendered identity and gendered ideology, allowing us to think about how gender mainstreaming preventing and countering violent extremism programming will improve effectiveness and impact.

Join us for a conversation on misogyny and radicalisation in online gaming spaces with:
Ashton Kingdon (Teaching Fellow in Criminology, University of Southampton)
Rachel Kowert (Research Director, Take This)
Galen Lamphere-Englund (Co-Founder, Extremism and Gaming Research Network)
Ashley Mattheis (Research Officer, Law, Swansea University)
Moderated by Jessica White (Senior Research Fellow, Royal United Services Institute)

Register here

Academic Papers

Kingdon, Ashton & Emma Ylitalo-James (21 February 2023). “Using social media to research terrorism and extremism”. A Research Agenda for Terrorism Studies.

El-Muhammady, Ahmad (14 February 2023). “A ‘Blue Ocean’ for Marginalised Radical Voices: Cyberspace, Social Media and Extremist Discourse in Malaysia”. New Media in the Margins.

Molas, Barbara (10 February 2023). “Alt-solutism: Intersections between Alt-Right Memes and Monarchism on Reddit”. ICCT.

Alrhmoun, Abdullah, Charlie Winter & János Kertész (7 February 2023). “Automating Terror: The Role and Impact of Telegram Bots in the Islamic State’s Online Ecosystem”. Terrorism and Political Violence.

Govers, Jarod et al. (7 February 2023). “Down the Rabbit Hole: Detecting Online Extremism, Radicalisation, and Politicised Hate Speech”. ACM Computer Surveys.

Andrews, Sam (3 February 2023). “The ‘First Person Shooter’ Perspective: A Different View on First Person Shooters, Gamification, and First Person Terrorist Propaganda”. Games and Culture.

Jurg, Daniël Hans Marinus & Marc Tuters (1 February 2023). “Cult Leaders, Masculinity, and White Supremacy on YouTube: The Case of Stefan Molyneux: The Truth About Stef”. Digital Methods Initiative.

Mishra, Ranjit (1 February 2023). “Terror Attack Prediction Based on Time Series Forecasting of Twitter Data”. Journal of Defence Studies.

Kim, Chaewon (31 January 2023). “How Right-Wing Extremism Uses the COVID-19 Pandemic: Focusing on Anti-Asian Rhetoric”. Lectio Socialis.

Faramelli, Anthony & Imogen Piper (29 January 2023). “Everybody Wants to be a Fascist Online: Psychoanalysis and the Digital Architecture of Fascism”. Comparative Literature and Culture

News Articles

Singh, Kanishka (23 February 2023). “White supremacists behind over 80% of extremism-related U.S. murders in 2022”. Reuters.

Reuters (23 February 2023). “British-born woman who joined ISIS at 15 cannot regain her U.K. citizenship, court rules”. NBC News.

Ali, Nur (22 February 2023). “Online gaming platforms easy ground for extremists to target youth, parents should be more vigilant: Experts”. Today Online.

Durkee, Alison (20 February 2023). “Should YouTube, Twitter Be More Responsible For Dangerous Content? Supreme Court Considers Tech Critics”. Forbes.

Roose, Josh (17 February 2023). “We need to talk about extremism and its links to Christian fundamentalism”. The Guardian.

Mahirova, Sofia (13 February 2023). “Who are Patriotic Alternative, the fascist cult stirring up hate in the UK?”. Dazed.

Hamladji, Noura & Samuel Rizk (13 February 2023). “The dynamics of violent extremism in sub-Saharan Africa”. UNDP.

Quinn, Ben (12 February 2023). “‘Rapid rise’ in Andrew Tate-related cases referred to Prevent by schools”. The Guardian.

Collyns, Dan (8 February 2023). “Peru calls on citizens to report ‘acts of terrorism’ on social media”. The Guardian.

Verini, James (8 February 2023). “The Paradox of Prosecuting Domestic Terrorism”. The New York Times.

Hymas, Charles (26 January 2023). “Boys under 15 are ‘most at risk of radicalisation and turning to terrorism’”. The Telegraph.

Serebrin, Jacob (23 January 2023). “Montreal man found guilty of wilfully promoting hatred against Jews”. Global News.


Zipp, Robert (24 February 2023). “Technochauvinism and Online Extremism”

Conroy, Meghan & Abbie Richards (22 February 2023). “Duelling Narratives of Vitality and Victimhood on Right-Wing TikTok: Exploring the #Pureblood Trend”

Dass, Rueben & Benjamin Mok (20 February 2023). “Assessing the Impact of 3D-Printed Weapons on the Violent Extremist Milieu”

Siegel, Daniel & Mary Bennett Doty (17 February 2023). “Weapons of Mass Disruption: Artificial Intelligence and the Production of Extremist Propaganda”

Pates, Harrison (15 February 2023). “The Dangers of Pseudohistorical Conspiracy Theories”

Freedman, Nina (10 February 2023). “Holocaust Memorial Day and the Contemporary Threat of Online Holocaust Denial”

Chapman, Jordan (9 February 2023). “Preventing Extremism through Storytelling and Gaming”

Mahmoud, Firas (8 February 2023). “From Atari to Allahu Akbar: Comparing White Supremacist and Jihadist Uses of Gamified Extremism”

Kingdon, Ashton (6 February 2023). “God of Race War: The Utilisation of Viking-Themed Video Games in Far-Right Propaganda”

Milligan, Kristy (2 February 2023). “The Wieambilla Siege and Conspiracy-Fuelled Violent Extremism in Australia”

Gill, Gerard (31 January 2023). “Millenarianism in Australia’s ‘Freedom Movement’”