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!

Islamic State: How foreigners are helped to reach Syria and Iraq

Originally Published by BBC News 24 February 2015. Original linked here.

Three girls from London travelled to Turkey, sparking international concerns they were en route to Syria to join Islamic State (IS). But what makes people want to travel to conflicts in foreign lands and how are they helped to get there? Continue reading

GCHQ can delete extremist content online all it wants, but it won’t help defeat ISIS

Originally Published by The Independent 6 November 2014. Original linked here.

Recent comments made by the head of Britain’s surveillance agency, Robert Hannigan, insinuate that social media companies are in part to blame for the ease in which jihadists and extremist groups use online tools to propagandise and recruit. Not only is this line of thought misguided, but it remains counterproductive to focus security measures on censorship initiatives that, invariably, target a symptom rather than its cause. It is imperative that security services evolve alongside the rapidly changing threat.

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Jihad trending: Analysis of online extremism and how to counter it

Originally Published by Index on Censorship: 23 May 2014. Original linked here

Censorship is central to the current debate on how to counter extremism online. With fears intensifying over the potential impact of returning foreign fighters and potential ‘lone wolf’ terrorists, governments are increasingly targeting the Internet as a source of radicalisation. However, using negative measures such as censorship only attack the symptom rather than the array of its causes. Findings from our recent Quilliam Report show that censorship initiatives not only prove ineffective in tackling extremism, but are potentially counter-productive. Continue reading

Jihad Trending: A Comprehensive Analysis of Online Extremism and How to Counter it (Executive Summary)

This executive summary is based on the Quilliam report <Jihad Trending: A Comprehensive Analysis of Online Extremism and How to Counter it> by Ghaffar Hussain and Dr. Erin Marie Saltman. Published May 2014

Online extremism and the role the Internet plays in the radicalisation process is currently being debated and discussed by journalists, academics, technologists and government officials alike. This report demystifies the topic of extremist content online and exposes the manner in which online tools are being used by Islamist extremist organisations and individuals to recruit and propagandise. Current measures to tackle online extremism are also assessed and critiqued, after which the report details a practical strategy for countering extremism online and making the Internet a less hospitable domain for extremists. Continue reading