The Mainstreaming of Far-Right Extremism Online and How to Counter It: A Case Study on UK, US and French Elections

Full Reference:

Davey, Saltman and Birdwell (2018), “The Mainstreaming of Far-Right Extremism Online and How to Counter It: A Case Study on UK, US and French Elections” in Trumping the Mainstream: The Conquest of Democratic Politics by the Populist Radical Right, Herman & Muldoon (eds), (Routledge, London).

Abstract

This chapter analyses the scale and nature of online ‘information operations’ by ‘far-right’ and ‘extreme-right’ online activists across three elections: the 2016 UK Referendum on EU Membership, the 2016 US national elections and the 2017 French national elections. We define information operations as coordinated attempts to influence domestic or foreign political sentiment. By using online social listening tools, this chapter questions to what extent information operations were intensified or scaled up across these three elections; the extent to which efforts were coordinated internationally; and maps tactics used to ‘mainstream’ specific far-right ideologies targeted at average voters. The chapter concludes by analysing ways that governments, industries and civil society are tackling this challenge to various ends.

For more see the book Chapter 1!

Facebook Ups Fight Against Terrorists, Hate-Mongers: Dr. Erin Saltman tells ‘Post’ how 7,500 reviewers deal with questionable comments from 2 billion users

Originally Published by Jerusalem Post 4 April 2018. By Yonah Jeremy Bob with original linked here.

These are not easy times at Facebook as it faces criticism over the Cambridge Analytica saga and about Russia using the social-media giant to sway public opinion during the 2016 US elections. But there is at least one area where Facebook had faced heavy criticism in the past – from Israel and much of the organized Jewish community – where it seems to have turned the tide.

Continue reading

TED Talk: How young people join violent hate groups – and how to stop them

Link to TED video: http://www.ted.com/talks/2856

Violent extremist groups and terrorist organizations destabilize civil society and cause devastation globally. Current trends have led many people to not just fear these networks, but also to question why individuals join violent, hate-based groups. This TED talk looks at the push and pull factors drawing people into these organizations, and discusses new ways of preventing and countering processes of radicalization through innovation and creativity.

Orlando and Nice attacks: Domestic violence links to radicalisation

Originally Published by BBC News 22 July 2016. Original linked here.

In the aftermath of the recent mass killings by lone attackers in Orlando and Nice, more details have come to light about the attackers’ histories and identities. Both attackers had track records of domestic violence, records of depression and questions around their sexual identities.

As the Islamic State group (IS) continues to stake claim on exported attacks on the West, it has also disseminated a range of identity politics and gender norms.The message is less about empowering individuals through religion, and more about attracting insecure and threatened individuals with a psychological need for control and simple answers. Continue reading

Newsweek Podcast Ep. 2: Hunting Lone Wolves

Episode two of Newsweek’s Foreign Service podcast asks how governments can prevent erratic and unpredictable attacks by so-called “lone wolf” terrorists. Published 21 July 2016. Link to Newsweek Foreign Service Podcast here

Gavin Long, the man who killed three police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Sunday, had past links with radical groups. But in politically charged Youtube videos infused with violent rhetoric, he insisted he acted alone. In Nice, where Mohamed Bouhlel killed at least 64 people and wounded dozens more with a truck, the Islamic State Militant Group (ISIS) took credit for the carnage. But Bouhlel’s links with the group are unclear, and likely indirect.

So how do you prepare for attacks that come without warning or large-scale planning? Do we now live in a world where any angry, isolated person who comes across the right messages can become a terrorist? Or, with the right knowledge, can governments and security services separate genuine dangers from false alarms, and turn those most at risk of perpetrating appalling crimes back from the brink?

This episode discusses the question from our London office with Hillary Hurd, who has studied religious-inspired violence and strategies for post-conflict rehabilitation, and Erin Marie Saltman, a senior researcher at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Link to podcast: https://soundcloud.com/newsweek-foreign-service/episode-two-hunting-lone-wolves

Policy Report: Guidance for International Youth Engagement in PVE and CVE

REPORT: Saltman, E. and Kirt, J. (June 2016) Guidance for International Youth Engagement in PVE and CVE: Youth Responses to Resolution 2250 and the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, (London: Institute for Strategic Dialogue).

Over the last several months, ISD’s Youth Civil Activism Network (YouthCAN) has made a concerted effort to reach out to young activists and garner important feedback regarding the UN Plan of Action (PoA) and Resolution 2250 in relation to specific national and regional contexts. The YouthCAN UN PVE Survey was distributed to young activists between April – June 2016 and contained 25 questions addressing key elements of the UN PoA and Resolution 2250. The survey was distributed online to the YouthCAN network, as well as a range of international youth networks.

This report was launched at a United Nations side event 1 July 2016 and presents the findings from the YouthCAN UN PVE Survey in order to bridge the gap between international policymakers and the expressed needs and concerns of young activists. The full policy report can be found here

Youth Innovation Labs: A Model for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism

PUBLICATION: Saltman E., Dow M. and Bjornsgaard K. (July 2016), Youth Innovation Labs: A Model for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, (London: Institute for Strategic Dialogue).

The following publication discusses the development, implementation and evaluation of Youth Innovation Labs. Labs are immersive, activist-led events that create a secure environment to facilitate capacity-building while giving participants the contacts, tools and resources needed to develop strategic campaigns for preventing and countering violent extremism. The purpose of this publication is to share the methodology and structure thatYouthCAN has developed, as well as the best-practices and outcomes from YouthCAN’s work with young activists and creatives.

The full publication can be found here.