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ICSR Report: Who Matters Online: Measuring influence, Evaluating Content and Countering Violent Extremism in Online Social Networks

28/03/2013

Through the analysis of thousands of Twitter accounts following prominent white nationalists and anarchists, ICSR’s latest report –Who Matters Online: Measuring influence, Evaluating Content and Countering Violent Extremism in Online Social Networks – offers new quantitative tools to identify highly engaged extremists in large social networks and to evaluate tactics for combating violent extremism (CVE) online.

The findings of this highly innovative research project show that influence and engagement in social networks related to extremism are concentrated among a very few users, allowing activists to isolate resonant messages and users. An examination of hashtags and links shared also provides insight into how extremists online view mainstream politics.

Authored by ICSR Associate Fellow J.M. Berger and Bill Strathearn, Who Matters Online: Measuring influence, Evaluating Content and Countering Violent Extremism in Online Social Networks demonstrates how quantitative analysis can identify highly engaged extremists in large social networks.

This ICSR report is the latest in a series of cutting edge projects dealing with the challenge of understanding and countering online radicalisation. Previous reports include The Challenge of Online Radicalisation (2009), Lights, Camera, Jihad: Al-Shabaab’s Western Media Strategy (2012) and Countering Online Radicalization in America (2012).

The paper was commissioned by Google Ideas, but views expressed are those of the authors.