A multi-region empirical study on the internet presence of global extremist organizations
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Extremist organizations are heavily utilizing Internet technologies to increase their abilities to influence the world. Studying those global extremist organizations’ Internet presence would allow us to better understand extremist organizations’ technical sophistication and their propaganda plans. In this work, we explore an integrated approach for collecting and analyzing extremist Internet presence. We employed automatic Web crawling techniques to build a comprehensive international extremist Web collection. We then used a systematic content analysis tool called the Dark Web Attribute System to analyze and compare these extremist organizations’ Internet usage from three perspectives: technical sophistication, content richness, and Web interactivity. By studying 1.7 million multimedia Web documents from around 224 Web sites of extremist organizations, we found that while all extremist organizations covered in this study demonstrate high level of technical sophistication in their Web presence, Middle Eastern extremists are among the most sophisticated groups in both technical sophistication and media richness. US groups are the most active in supporting Internet communications. Our analysis results will help domain experts deepen their understanding on the global extremism movements and make better counter-extremism measures on the Internet.
KeywordsExtremism Internet Web mining
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