Informal Countermessaging The Potential And Perils Of Informal Online Countermessaging

Online counter messaging—communication that seeks to disrupt the online content disseminated by extremist groups and individuals—is a core component of contemporary counter terrorism strategies. Counter messaging has been heavily criticized, not least on the grounds of effectiveness. Whereas current debates are focused on the role of government and large organizations in developing and disseminating counter messages, this article argues that such approaches overlook the informal production of counter messages. Recognizing the appetite for “natural world” content among those engaged in counter messaging, this article highlights some of the potential benefits of informal approaches to counter messaging. At the same time, the article also acknowledges the risks that may result from closer working between counter messaging organizations and informal actors.

Tags: Communications, counter messaging, Online