Domestic Terrorism Conference Series: Dangerous Discourse - Researching Violent Online Political Extremism

In May 2017, NJOHSP hosted over 250 federal, state, and local intelligence and law enforcement, academic, and private-sector partners for the 2nd Annual Domestic Terrorism Conference. The event provided a forum to discuss the threat of extremists and groups aligned with race-based, single-issue, anti-government, and religious ideologies in the United States. Over the next several weeks, you will hear from some of the experts who shared their research and insights at the conference.

In this episode, Analysis Bureau Chief Dean Baratta sat down with Lisa McInerney of VOX-Pol, an academic research network focused on researching the prevalence, contours, functions, and impacts of violent online political extremism and responses to it. We explore their efforts on combating violent online political extremism and radicalization, as well as current strategies and lessons learned from prior incidents of radicalization. 




Programme Manager | VOX-Pol

Lisa McInerney is the Programme Manager for VOX-Pol and a Research Fellow in the School of Law and Government, at Dublin City University. VOX-Pol, a European Commission-funded ‘Network of Excellence’ is focused upon violent online political extremism, across a range of ideologies, including violent jihadism, national-separatism, extreme-right, and extreme-left. Lisa’s research interests are in violent political extremism and processes of violent radicalisation, with a particular interest in the potential for violent radicalisation via the Internet. Analysis of violent political extremist narratives aimed at radicalising youth—across a range of ideologies—forms the core of Lisa’s most recent research along with exploring the potential for the development of effective counternarrative strategies. Invited to contribute on related issues at a variety of international events including at the UN, European Commission, the OSCE, and the US Naval Postgraduate School. Lisa has also published in a Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS) volume on ‘Intelligence and Security Informatics’, in IEEE Computer Society, and has co-edited (with Maura Conway) a special issue on terrorism in ‘old’ and ‘new’ media in Media, War & Conflict in which she also had a co-authored paper on the framing of ‘JihadJane’ in the US press.


VOX-Pol Main Website
The VOX-Pol Network of Excellence (NoE) is a European Union Framework Programme 7 (FP7)-funded academic research network focused on researching the prevalence, contours, functions, and impacts of Violent Online Political Extremism and responses to it.

Research Perspectives on Online Radicalization
This literature review seeks to recalibrate our understanding of online radicalisation, how it is conceptualised within the literature and the extent to which the policy debate has advanced in response to technological and legal developments.

Check the Web: Assessing the Ethics and Politics of Policing the Internet for Extremist Material
This report assesses the ethics and politics of policing online extremist material, using the normative framework of international human rights law, particularly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, European Convention on Human Rights and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights – whilst not conducting a legal analysis. 

Combining Social Network Analysis and Sentiment Analysis to Explore the Potential for Online Radicalisation
The increased online presence of jihadists has raised the possibility of individuals being radicalised via the Internet. To date, the study of violent radicalisation has focused on dedicated jihadist websites and forums. This may not be the ideal starting point for such research, as participants in these venues may be described as “already madeup minds”. Crawling a global social networking platform, such as YouTube, on the other hand, has the potential to unearth content and interaction aimed at radicalisation of those with little or no apparent prior interest in violent jihadism. This research explores whether such an approach is indeed fruitful.

Jihadi Video & Auto-Radicalisation: Evidence from an Exploratory YouTube Study
Large amounts of jihadi video content on YouTube along with the vast array of relational data that can be gathered opens up innovative avenues for exploration of the support base for political violence. This exploratory study analyses the online supporters of jihad-promoting video content on YouTube, focusing on those posting and commenting upon martyr-promoting material from Iraq.