Journal article

Violent extremist group ecologies under stress

Manuel Cebrian, Manuel R Torres, Ramon Huerta, James H Fowler



Violent extremist groups are currently making intensive use of Internet fora for recruitment to terrorism. These fora are under constant scrutiny by security agencies, private vigilante groups, and hackers, who sometimes shut them down with cybernetic attacks. However, there is a lack of experimental and formal understanding of the recruitment dynamics of online extremist fora and the effect of strategies to control them. Here, we utilize data on ten extremist fora that we collected for four years to develop a data-driven mathematical model that is the first attempt to measure whether (and how) these external attacks induce extremist fora to self-regulate. The results suggest that an increas..

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Awarded by James S. McDonnell Foundation

Awarded by National Science Foundation

Awarded by DARPA/Lockheed Martin Guard Dog Program

Awarded by Army Research Office

Funding Acknowledgements

James H. Fowler acknowledges support from the James S. McDonnell Foundation grant #220020177/SC. Manuel Cebrian acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation under grant 0905645, from DARPA/Lockheed Martin Guard Dog Program under PO 4100149822, and the Army Research Office under Grant W911NF-11-1-0363. Manuel R. Torres was supported by The Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology for his time in residence at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.