The Impact of the Internet and Social Media Platforms on Radicalisation to Terrorism and Violent Extremism

This chapter critically discusses the evidence suggesting that the Internet and SMPs affect radicalisation to violent extremism. The chapter specifically focuses on arguments surrounding echo chambers, opportunities for women to remain anonymous and the role of identity construction for the youth. The study also critically discusses the evidence negating the notion that the Internet and SMPs can affect radicalisation to terrorism and violent extremism. The discussion focuses primarily on offline persuasion and a ‘false dichotomy’. Based on this critical analysis, the chapter argues that the Internet and SMPs play an important role in the radicalisation of youth and women based on the increased opportunities that might not otherwise be provided in the offline world despite the methodological issues around the evidence. Furthermore, it is argued that evidence does not successfully demonstrate that echo chambers on the Internet affect radicalisation to violent extremism. Whilst acknowledging that offline persuasion also plays a significant role and the evidence suggesting a ‘false dichotomy’, the chapter also argues that it would not be effective to research online and offline radicalisation as an integrated model. This is due to the fact that there still exists a lack of understanding and empirical research around online radicalisation as well as radicalisation in general.

Tags: Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, Cyber Terrorism, Radicalisation, Social media platforms, the internet, TOR, Violent extremism