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GNET Research Digest – June 2023

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

Welcome to the June 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.

GNET Report Launch:
The “Webification” of Jihadism: Trends in the Use of Online Platforms, Before and After Attacks by Violent Extremists in Nigeria

Where: Online, via Zoom
When: Tuesday 4 July 2023, 5 pm BST/ 12 pm EST
What: 30-minute presentation of report findings, followed by 30-minute moderated Q&A

Violent extremist organisations (VEOs) use social media platforms to promote extremist content and coordinate agendas.  The use of digital platforms to disseminate information and coordinate activities by VEOs in Nigeria has grown considerably in recent years. This report analyses the adoption of social media before and after attacks by Boko Haram, Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Ansaru.

In the post-attack environment, Boko Haram, ISWAP and Ansaru use platforms to claim responsibility and display their strengths against the state’s security forces. By demonstrating their capacity to attack state security forces, the three groups aim to erode the public’s confidence in the state military’s capacity to safeguard national security.

The key findings of this report are as follows:

  1. Boko Haram, ISWAP and Ansaru previously leveraged popular social media platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, Telegram and Instagram. These platforms were used to promote propaganda and create awareness regarding upcoming attacks. However, all three groups have now had their use of these platforms restricted or banned.

  2. ISWAP has switched to using WhatsApp as a secure platform for communication before, during and after attacks. Rocket.Chat and Telegram have also been instrumental in ISWAP’s information dissemination.

  3. Boko Haram uses Telegram to share its activities in the pre-attack and post-attack environments.

  4. Ansaru has yet to appear on social media platforms due to its underground activities, which are hard to monitor.

  5. The recent acquisition of high-speed satellite internet has enhanced ISWAP’s communication with its audience and enabled coordinated attacks.

Combating the exploitation of social media platform by VEOs requires a multidimensional approach. Effective collaboration with technology companies becomes imperative to identify extremist content. Building technological infrastructure for the state requires synergistic collaboration with the military and intelligence agencies to enable the removal of extremism from social media platforms. Devising multilingual and specialised algorithms to detect coded anti-extremism messages and audio-visual content is essential for effective counter-extremism digital architecture. Investing in current technology through research and algorithm development must be prioritised to identify violent extremist content in Nigeria and beyond.

Register here

Academic Papers

Armstrong-Scott, Gabrielle & James Waldo (12 June 2023). Guns, Incels, and Algorithms: Where We Are on Managing Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content Online. Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Krause, Werner & Miku Matsunaga (10 June 2023). Does Right-Wing Violence Affect Public Support for Radical Right Parties? Evidence from GermanyComparative Political Studies. 

Thomas, Daniel Robert & Laila A Wahedi (5 June 2023). Disrupting hate: The effect of deplatforming hate organizations on their online audienceProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

de Wildt, Lars & Stef Aupers (2 June 2023). Participatory conspiracy culture: Believing, doubting and playing with conspiracy theories on RedditConvergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies. 

Tebaldi, Catherine & Dominika Baran (15 May 2023). Of tradwives and TradCaths: The anti-genderism register in global nationalist movementsSpecial Issue: Anti-genderism in Global Nationalist Movements.

Mughal, Rabya et al. (8 May 2023). Public Mental Health Approaches to Online Radicalisation: A Systematic Review of the 

Williams, Thomas James Vaughan et al. (8 April 2023). Policy vs reality: comparing the policies of social media sites and users’ experiences, in the context of exposure to extremist contentBehavioural Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression. 

Govers, Jarod et al. (7 February 2023). Down the Rabbit Hole: Detecting Online Extremism, Radicalisation, and Politicised Hate SpeechACM Computing Surveys. 

News Articles

Ebner, Julia (29 June 2023). I went undercover among the fascists and this is what I found. The Jewish Chronicle.

Kite-Powell, Jennifer (29 June 2023). Tox Mod Uses AI Voice Tech To Identify Extremism In Online Gaming. Forbes.

Patabendige, Charani (29 June 2023). Society Needs to Use Religion to Counter Extremism. International Policy Digest.

Berhanu, Girma (29 June 2023). The New Frontier Of Antisemitism: Racial Discourse And Oromo Extremism In Ethiopia – Analysis. Eurasia Review.

Stein, Chris (26 June 2023). After Roe’s overturn, Republicans target trans rights using extremist rhetoric. The Guardian.

Howard, Lee (24 June 2023). AI discussion leads to practical advice on internet safety. The Day.

Stock, Kathleen (23 June 2023). The perils of reproductive extremism. UnHerd.

Robbins, Siobhan & Dorothee Thiesing (21 June 2023). How the far-right has grown into the greatest extremist threat to Germany’s democracy. Sky News.

Met Police (20 June 2023). Man who shared extremist content online jailed for 14 terrorism offences.

Kruglova, Anna (16 June 2023). Understanding Conspiracist Radicalisation: QAnon’s Mobilisation to Violence. ICCT.

ADL. (6 June 2023). The Dangers of Manipulated Media and Video: Deepfakes and More.


Martin, Zelly & Inga Trauthig (30 June 2023). How Gen Z is Changing Anti-Abortion Extremism Through ‘Queering’

Macnair, Logan (28 June 2023). Understanding Fashwave: The Alt-Right’s Ever-Evolving Media Strategy

Wallens, Diana (26 June 2023). Moms for Liberty: The Use of Facebook to Spread Far-Right Propaganda and Change Public School Curriculum

Romaniuk, Scott et al. (23 June 2023). Terrorist Platform Migration: The Move to Smaller, Less Regulated Online Spaces

Shanker-Grandpierre, Devika (21 June 2023). Understanding Love Jihad: Historical Context, Impact, and Strategies of Dissemination

Pozzoli, Manfredi (19 June 2023). Break the Chain: Manifestos, Lone Wolf Terrorism, and the Nashville Shooting

Allen, Kye (16 June 2023). ‘Arktos 2.0’:  Deplatforming and Digital Innovation in Far-Right Publishing

Ristić, Katarina (14 June 2023). Remove Kebab: The Transnational Circulation of Far-Right Memes and The Memory of the Yugoslav Wars

Morris, Danny (12 June 2023). Does Artificial Intelligence Dream of Antisemitism?

Richards, Abbie, Robin O’Luanaigh & Lea Marchl (9 June 2023). How ‘Gnome Hunting’ Became TikTok’s Latest Antisemitic Dog Whistle

Siegel, Daniel (7 June 2023). ‘RedPilled AI’: A New Weapon for Online Radicalisation on 4chan

Webber, Lucas & Daniele Garofalo (5 June 2023). Fursan al-Tarjuma Carries the Torch of Islamic State’s Media Jihad

Andrews, Sam (1 June 2023). First-Person Propaganda, First-Person Shooters, and Gamification: A Different View