The Use of Social Media by United States Extremists

Emerging communication technologies, and social media platforms in particular, play an increasingly important role
in the radicalization and mobilization processes of violent and non-violent extremists (Archetti, 2015; Cohen et al.,
2014; Farwell, 2014; Klausen, 2015). However, the extent to which extremists utilize social media, and whether it
influences terrorist outcomes, is still not well understood (Conway, 2017). This research brief expands the current
knowledge base by leveraging newly collected data on the social media activities of 479 extremists in the PIRUS
dataset who radicalized between 2005 and 2016.
1 This includes descriptive analyses of the frequency of social
media usage among U.S. extremists, the types of social media platforms used, the differences in the rates of social
media use by ideology and group membership, the purposes of social media use, and the impact of social media on
foreign fighter travel and domestic terrorism plots.

Tags: Radicalisation, Social Media