Reverse-Engineering the ISIS Playbook, Part I: CT-CVE Messaging Lessons from ISIS’s English-Language Magazines
April 13, 2018
By Haroro J. Ingram & Alastair Reed The challenges associated with confronting militant Islamist propaganda have not waned with the territorial demise of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS). Sure, ISIS’s propaganda output is down overall from the peaks of 2015 and this downward trend has provided the backdrop for periods of particularly sharp declines in mid-2016 and late-2017. ...
Online Extremism: UK Government’s Islamic State Blocking Tool is Neat but Incomplete
March 28, 2018
By Raheel Nawaz The UK government – with considerable pomp and ceremony – recently unveiled a new online tool for detection and removal of jihadi videos boasting a high success rate. It has been claimed by the Home Office that the machine learning tool, which the government developed with ASI Data Science, can identify 94% ...
Online Jihadi Instructional Content: IS’s Rumiyah in 2017
February 21, 2018
By Maura Conway and Michael Courtney Jihadi magazines have a long pedigree, are the subject of extensive media coverage and scholarly analysis,[1] and are still easily accessible online. In a recent book chapter, ‘Online Jihadi Instructional Content: The Role of Magazines,’ Conway, Parker, and Looney,  focused on the instructional content, both text and images, published in ...
How the Islamic State Uses ‘Virtual Lessons’ to Build Loyalty
December 13, 2017
By André Gagné and Marc-André Argentino The Islamic State has lost most of its territory and key cities like Mosul and Raqqa, and more recently Deir al-Zour and al-Qaim, have fallen to the global coalition fighting the terrorist group. In the face of such challenges, it’s tried to maintain legitimacy through what some have called a virtual caliphate. Within ...
Some Reflections on Locating Online Viewers of Jihadist Content in Policy Exchange’s ‘The New Netwar’
September 27, 2017
By Lorand Bodo The UK think-tank Policy Exchange recently published a new report on the struggle against online jihadist extremism, or what its authors call “the New Netwar”. The report argues that we are currently struggling to find appropriate ways to combat online jihadist extremism and therefore losing the war online against the so-called ‘Islamic State’ (ISIS). ...
ISIS: From Connective Action to Transnational Insurgency?
September 6, 2017
Since late 2016, researchers came to acknowledge both ISIS’ territorial decline and much reduced visibility on mainstream social media networks. They note that its online community of supporters have migrated to encrypted communication channels and that its territory in the Levant has shrunk considerably, which—according to a recent ICSR estimate—impacted on the organisation’s financial resources. ...
Macedonia’s Jailed Jihadists Try to Recruit Online
July 26, 2017
By Haris Fazliu While researching Bringing Down the Digital Caliphate – Breaking the ISIS Brand (under review), for the International Center for The Study of Violent Extremism, ICSVE, I discovered that convicted terrorists in Macedonia linked to ISIS continue to share propaganda online. Jihadists currently serving sentences in Macedonian prisons freely use smartphones to watch videos, ...
Children are Being Used as Easy Weapons of Propaganda by Terrorist Organisations
July 19, 2017
By Amy-Louise Watkin and Sean Looney To involve children in terrorism is an unthinkable prospect. And yet they have become not only targets of violence, but are being used to promote radicalised causes too. This is not just about European or American children being victims of attacks by the so-called Islamic State (IS). Young people who are ...
Telegram: The Mighty Application That ISIS Loves – PART II
June 14, 2017
This post is Part 2 of 2. Click here for Part 1 By Ahmet S. Yayla & Anne Speckhard Reaching out on to ISIS members via Telegram channels is a significant challenge for beginners. First of all, as the Telegram application is installed, the application copies all the contact numbers on one’s cell phone and connects the ...
Telegram: The Mighty Application that ISIS Loves – Part I
June 7, 2017
By Ahmet S. Yayla & Anne Speckhard ISIS has been the most successful terrorist organization in history using social media and the Internet for distributing its propaganda, dissemination of its news and more importantly to communicate. There is no doubt that the frequency and quality of ISIS posts on the Internet, including their videos, memes ...