Progressive Terrorism Studies Webinar Series – The Persistent Online Presence: The Shift in Platform Exploitation Over Time
The first webinar in this series provides a data-driven update on how the Arabic speaking core of the Salafi-Jihadi information ecosystem has continued to evolve.
How the Salafi-Jihadi movement has been able to exploit the internet to distribute their message has been a key concern of those seeking to challenge these narratives.
In 2019 Emily Winterbotham, Dr Ali Fisher and Dr Nico Prucha published the largest ever study of traffic between the online platforms that comprise the Jihadi information ecosystem. This study included 24 months of data from the core of the Salafi-Jihadi Telegram network and revealed the inner workings of their multiplatform communication paradigm. The paper demonstrated the different roles that platforms play within the multiplatform information ecosystem, including Telegram, Tamtam, and Matrix. This research comprises over 6.4 million Telegram updates collected in near real-time since June 2017 and these updates were collected from channels and groups confirmed to be part of the Salafi-Jihadi movement. From within this vast archive of material a collection of 4 million instances of URL sharing were recorded for analysis. This work has continued.
This large-scale analysis provides a strategic level overview of the way the Salafi-Jihadi movement has operated since Telegram became its primary platform for communicating with supporters. By examining the URL they share, it shows the breadth of their presence across platforms and provides an overview into whether there are detectable patterns in their use of different online services. Are there correlations between the use of different platforms? Might co-citation style analysis be a useful approach to detect clusters of platforms which are used collectively?
This webinar is an opportunity for this analysis to be discussed within the context of the Salafi-Jihadi mindset, including how their theology, strategy, and decades of experience have prepared the Jihadi current for contemporary disruption efforts. This session is of interest to researchers, policymakers and tech professionals as they consider what the evolving Salafi-Jihadi approach means for their individual areas of responsibility, including those seeking to counter Salafi-Jihadi da'wa (missionary work).
- Dr Ali Fisher, Explorer of Extreme Realms, Human Cognition
- Dr Nico Prucha, Chief Content Curator, Human Cognition
The discussion will be chaired by Emily Winterbotham, Director, RUSI Terrorism & Conflict Group