From image to function Automated analysis of online jihadi videos

The strategy of jihadist groups is based on objectives that are sometimes global. Specifically, many of these groups argue that Muslims, wherever they live, should fight for the establishment of an Islamic state or, at least, for such a state to be possible elsewhere. Therefore, taking advantage of the emergence of the Internet, they initiated an equally universal narrative strategy, with the production of a great deal of content, especially audiovisual texts. The effects of this material are known and, unfortunately, may be behind the terrorist actions of various individuals in many countries. Hence the concern of academics lies with their analyses and with the development of methodologies that can successfully deal with large amounts of multimodal information. The present research, therefore, aims to apply a quantitative procedure to the analysis of jihadist propaganda. Specifically, the authors have analysed 2,211 videos belonging to different terrorist groups, by applying an image classification algorithm. The results show that this type of approach has realistic possibilities of providing relevant information about this corpus – when realized, they may help to create automated analytical tools capable of dealing with the enormous amount of information that can be disseminated on-line.

Tags: Jihadism, videos