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Pressuring Platforms to Censor Content is Wrong Approach to Combatting Terrorism
February 24, 2016
By Scott Craig and Emma Llansó The UK government has published a new counter-extremism strategy outlining the steps it intends to take to counter extremist ideologies in British society. In an expansion of earlier efforts designed to prevent people being “drawn into terrorism,” the government now intends to actively challenge non-violent extremism both online and ...
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What Analysis of the Islamic State’s Messaging Keeps Missing
February 17, 2016
by Haroro Ingram Countering Islamic State “strategic communications” is one of the most pressing national security concerns facing Western governments. Developing more nuanced understanding of the organization’s communications strategy will be crucial to devising effective counter-narrative strategies. Yet popular commentary tends to explain the appeal of Islamic State messaging by pointing to its graphic violence, use ...
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Challenges of Using Twitter as a Data Source: An Overview of Current Resources
February 10, 2016
by Wasim Ahmed In one of my previous blog posts I outlined a number of software applications that could be used to capture and analyse data from Twitter. In this blog post I outline some of the methodological, ethical, privacy, and copyright issues associated with using Twitter as a data source. Twitter can be used as a ...
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Al-Shabaab Returns to Twitter
February 3, 2016
by David Mair On Thursday 21st January 2015, al-Shabaab attacked the Lido Beach area of Mogadishu in the heart of Somalia.  The area is regarded as Somalia’s premier tourism destination; where Somalis can relax on white sands and enjoy the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.  Despite being on the Foreign Office no-go list, Lido ...
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Analyzing the Islamic State’s Information Campaign: Interview With Australian National Univ’s Haroro Ingram
January 27, 2016
by Joel Wing In the west, the Islamic State (IS) is usually described as a new type of insurgent group that is exploiting technological advances to spread its message to create a new global brand of jihad that has attracted followers from around the world. Haroro Ingram, a Research Fellow at the Coral Bell School ...
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Indonesia Needs More than Hashtags to Defy Terror
January 20, 2016
by Andi Rahman Alamsyah People were commenting on social media within moments of the terrorist bombings and shooting on 14 January in Jakarta by attackers linked to Islamic State (IS). Two popular hashtags emerged on Twitter and Facebook: #PrayForJakarta and #KamiTidakTakut, which translates as “We are not afraid”. The Pray-for-something hashtag is a common phrase on ...
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Beyond Privacy: The Costs and Consequences of Mass Surveillance
January 13, 2016
by Esther Kersley Last week the new UN privacy chief said UK surveillance was “worse than [George Orwell’s novel] 1984”. In the two years since the Snowden leaks revealed the existence of bulk internet and phone surveillance by US intelligence services and their partners, including the UK, the British government continues to engage in the ...
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Six Easy Ways to Tell if that Viral Story is a Hoax
January 6, 2016
by Pete Brown “And so it begins … ISIS flag among refugees in Germany fighting the police,” blared the headline on the Conservative Post; “with this new leaked picture, everything seems confirmed”. The image in question purported to show a group of Syrian refugees holding ISIS flags and attacking German police officers. For those resistant ...
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Defence is Fighting ISIS Online, but We Don’t Know it Works
December 30, 2015
by David Donaldson The Australian Defence Force’s latest initiative in the war on the Islamic State, a Twitter account disputing “Daesh lies”, builds on lessons from the problems encountered by earlier attempts at countering IS propaganda — but nobody really knows if it will work. The @fight_DAESH account, which became the object of unwanted attention when ...
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To Combat ISIS, Europe Must Do More to Police Social Media
December 23, 2015
by Thomas Hegghammer I have studied jihadism online for nearly 15 years, and I have never seen jihadis exploit the Internet with greater ease, effectiveness and impunity than they do today. The past five years have seen a veritable collapse in the policing of extremist activity online, and I believe this has contributed significantly to ...