New VOX-Pol Report: Online Jihadist Propaganda Dissemination Strategies

Today, Tuesday 5 March 2024, VOX-Pol publishes its newest report, Online Jihadist Propaganda Dissemination Strategies, by Stuart Macdonald and Sean McCafferty. The report is available in full and for free on the VOX-Pol Publications page.

The authors discussed the new report on a Tech Against Terrorism Podcast episode last week, titled ‘How has the Online Dissemination of Jihadist Propaganda Evolved?’ You can hear their discussion and read the transcript at this link.

About the report

It is well established that jihadist groups and their supporters post URLs on online platforms to outlink to items of propaganda stored on other platforms. Industry initiatives – such as GIFCT’s inclusion of URLs in its hash-sharing database, and Tech Against Terrorism’s Terrorist Content Analytics Platform – have sought to counter this practice. These measures, together with new regulatory regimes (e.g. the EU’s Terrorist Content Online Regulation) and the growing use of decentralised services, raise the question whether jihadist groups’ propaganda dissemination strategies are perhaps being forced to evolve. This report considers whether there is evidence of such an evolution, by examining the means that three jihadist groups (Islamic State (IS), Al-Qaeda (AQ) and Al-Shabaab) used to disseminate their propaganda during a two-month period in early 2023.

About the authors

Stuart Macdonald is Professor of Law at the Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law, Swansea University, UK. He is Co-Director of the University’s Cyber Threats Research Centre (CYTREC) and Coordinator of the VOX-Pol Network.

Sean McCafferty is a Research Assistant at Dublin City University, Ireland. His research focuses on open-source intelligence, terrorism, propaganda, and technology. Sean holds an Erasmus Mundus International Master’s in Security, Intelligence and Strategic Studies.

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