The Top Five Most-Read VOX-Pol Blog Posts of 2021

From September 2020 to July 2021, VOX-Pol published 48 Blog posts covering many aspects of online extremism and terrorism. The events of 6 January 2021 in the US Capitol building led to a big increase in traffic to the VOX-Pol online platforms, and total page views this year has increased 30% on the previous year. See last year’s top five most-read HERE.

The blog covered topics such as research methods, regulation and law, content moderation, radicalisation, Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE), and a range of ideology-specific analyses. The top five features articles on the far right and violent Jihadism.

The VOX-Pol Blog takes a summer break in August and returns in September. If you’d like to publish your work on the VOX-Pol Blog, the submission instructions are HERE.

5. Triggered by Defeat or Victory? Assessing the Impact of Presidential Election Results on Extreme Right-Wing Mobilisation Online

The fifth most-read blog post of the year is an article summarising a study that had been recently published in Deviant Behavior by By Ryan Scrivens, George W. Burruss, Thomas J. Holt, Steven Chermak, Joshua D. Freilich, and Richard Frank. The study examines the role of presidential election results as triggering events affecting the posting activities of participants within Stormfront, an extreme right online community.

4. Digital Media and Violent Extremism in Bangladesh: Profiles and Narratives

Published in June 2021, this popular post from Saimum Parvez summarises findings of author’s Ph.D. project Understanding Digital Media and the Lifecycles of Bangladeshi Violent Extremists. Some of the findings were also published in the article titled ‘Digital Media and Violent Extremism in Bangladesh: Profiles and Narratives’. Find him on Twitter @saimumparvez1.

3. The Terrorist Content Analytics Platform and Transparency by Design

This Blog post was written by Tech Against Terrorism (TAT) as a response to the previous week’s article, One Database To Rule Them All: The Invisible Content Cartel that Undermines the Freedom of Expression Online, which had been republished from the Electronic Frontier Foundation Deeplinks Blog. The initial article outlined concerns about the GIFCT’s hash-sharing database. This reponse piece detailes how TAT address these concerns in their development of the Terrorist Content Analytics Platform (TCAP).

With the TCAP, we aim to ensure that we provide the support that smaller tech companies need whilst ensuring that we do our part to help keep the internet open, vibrant, and free.

2. The Christchurch Terror Attack: A Case of Online Radicalisation?

This article by Joe Whittaker and Chamin Herath from Swansea University discusses the process of radicalisation of the far-right terrorist who carried out the 2019 Christchurch attacks, and in doing so, raise interesting questions about the concept of ‘online radicalisation’.

1. the Pro-Trump Alternative to Social Media 

This article was published in November 2020, then received a large increase in views after the events Capitol Hill in January 2021. It was written by Greta Jasser and Jordan McSwiney and  was originally published in the October 2020 edition of e-Extreme. e-Extreme is the newsletter of the European Consortium for Political Research Standing Group on Extremism & Democracy.

Users are free to post whatever they like, with the exception of private information that would identify other people (doxing) and child abuse material. It is this absolutist approach to ‘free speech’ that has made Gab not only a haven for white supremacists and the so-called ‘Alt-Right’, but for tens of thousands of Trump supporters who believe they are being ‘censored’ on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.


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