Reflections on the Independent Review of Prevent
February 15, 2023
By Andrew Whiting   First announced in January 2019, last week saw the publication of the long-awaited independent review of Prevent led by Lord Shawcross. Prevent is controversial and this review has had its own controversies.  The review’s original lead was replaced after legal challenge and the subsequent appointment of Shawcross led to a boycott ...
#Jailbait and “In a videogame ofc”: Transgression and violent talk as community building in the incelosphere
February 8, 2023
by Greta Jasser Incel forums are online spaces with little to no moderation against violent and harmful speech. Yet, despite the almost non-existent community guidelines, users aim to debate, break or circumvent them, as transgression and violent talk are central to the community that formed in these spaces. The term incel is a shorthand for ‘involuntarily ...
Far-Right Lone-Actor Terrorist Attacks and Violent Extremist use of File-Sharing Platforms
February 1, 2023
By Sean McCafferty This analysis will focus on the role of file-sharing platforms in disseminating propaganda linked to violent far-right lone-actor attacks, examining the recent Bratislava perpetrator as a case study. A pattern among a selection of attackers represents an emerging typology of behaviour within the propaganda dissemination strategies of violent extremists on the far ...
Proto-State Media Systems: The Digital Rise of of Al-Qaeda and ISIS – A Book Review
January 25, 2023
Book Review by Andrew Glazzard Terrorism is, as we know, propaganda in word and deed. Terrorists communicate symbolically (through their choice of targets, or their methods of attack) as well as directly through statements, stories and appeals. There is, therefore, no shortage of studies  addressing how terrorists exploit mass media, from the made-for-television spectaculars of ...
The ‘Great Migration’: Recent Accelerationist Efforts to Switch Social Media Platforms
January 18, 2023
By Charlie Winter Since Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter in October, there has been much conjecture about how its changes in policy, particularly in relation to the reinstatement of accounts belonging to prominent white supremacists and conspiracy theorists, will make Twitter a new core arena for extreme right wing (ERW) messaging and outreach. Notably, this ...
Spreading Hate and Violence: The Link between Online Vitriol and Terrorism
January 11, 2023
By Amanda R. Champion, David M. Hattie, Devinder Khera, Richard Frank, & Cory L. Pedersen In the aftermath of Alek Minassian’s 2018 van attack in Toronto, Canada, that claimed the lives of 11 individuals, a reporter from The Telegraph stated that Minassian drove a rented van into a crowd of pedestrians on a major downtown ...
Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover has disrupted the Christchurch Call – NZ needs to rethink its digital strategy
January 4, 2023
By Markus Luczak-Roesch, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter as the new sole private owner has delivered plenty of material for memes. Ironically, much of the debate about Twitter is still happening on the platform itself, sometimes with Musk jumping into the conversations personally. At the same time, ...
Why outsourcing counter-terrorism online won’t work in future
December 21, 2022
By David Wells Policing online hate speech currently falls into a murky space shared between governments and big tech. The past five years have seen the creation of a latticework of overlapping methodologies to identify and remove online terrorist content and hate speech. Most notably, a significant proportion of these efforts have effectively been privatised ...
Disinformation and the 2022 Brazilian General Elections: The First Round Vote
December 14, 2022
By Dr James Fitzgerald, Dr R. Marie Santini, and Dr Débora Salles This piece showcases the work of new VOX-Pol member, NetLab[1]. Its purpose is to provide readers with an initial understanding of a coordinated disinformation infrastructure that has flourished in Brazil, with a focus on how it interacted with the first round vote of ...
Lessons from the Decline of the American Racist Skinheads and Emerging Online Trends of the Far-Right
December 7, 2022
By Jonathan Pieslak In a recent VOX-Pol blog post, I outlined how online digital music contributed to the decline of the American racist skinhead movement. More than the aging-out of members or the recruitment of prospects to other groups, the subculture faced significant challenges brought about by the collapse of physical music media and the ...