This chapter critically discusses the evidence suggesting that the Internet and SMPs affect radicalisation to violent extremism. The chapter specifically focuses on arguments surrounding echo chambers, opportunities for women to remain anonymous and the role of identity construction for the youth. The study also critically discusses the evidence negating the notion that the Internet and SMPs can affect radicalisation to terrorism and violent extremism. The discussion focuses primarily on offline persuasion and a ‘false dichotomy’. Based on this critical analysis, the chapter argues that the Internet and SMPs play an important role in the radicalisation of youth and women based on the increased opportunities that might not otherwise be provided in the offline world despite the methodological issues around the evidence. Furthermore, it is argued that evidence does not successfully demonstrate that echo chambers on the Internet affect radicalisation to violent extremism. Whilst acknowledging that offline persuasion also plays a significant role and the evidence suggesting a ‘false dichotomy’, the chapter also argues that it would not be effective to research online and offline radicalisation as an integrated model. This is due to the fact that there still exists a lack of understanding and empirical research around online radicalisation as well as radicalisation in general.
- The Internet
- Cyber terrorism
- Violent extremism
- Social media platforms
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout
Purchases are for personal use onlyLearn about institutional subscriptions
Allen, C. E. (2007). Threat of Islamic radicalization to the homeland. In Testimony before the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs (p. 4).
Anthony, A. (2014). Anjem Choudary: The British extremist who backs the caliphate. The Guardian.. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/07/anjem-choudary-islamic-state-isis
Awan, I. (2017). Cyber-extremism: Isis and the power of social media. Society, 54(2), 138–149.
Aydinli, E. (2008). Before jihadists there were anarchists: A failed case of transnational violence. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 31(10), 903–923.
Beadle, S. (2017). How does the Internet facilitate radicalization? (pp. 1–19). War Studies Department, King’s College.
Berger, J. M. (2016). Nazis vs. ISIS on Twitter: A comparative study of white nationalist and ISIS online social media networks.
Bloom, M. (2016). The changing nature of women in extremism and political violence. Freedom from Fear, 11, 40–54.
Bott, C., Dickens, R., Moffitt, J., Smith, E., Rowley, T., Lark, R., & Thompson, G. (2009). The Internet as a terrorist tool for recruitment & radicalization of youth (p. 17-01). Homeland Security Institute Publication Number RP08-03.02.
Briggs, R. (2014). Policy briefing: Radicalisation, the role of the Internet. Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Retrieved from https://www.isdglobal.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/StockholmPPN2011_BackgroundPaper_FOR20WEBSITE.pdf
Briggs, R., & Strugnell, A. (2011). Radicalisation: The role of the internet. Policy PlannersNetwork Working Paper. Institute for Strategic Dialogue.
British Broadcasting Corporation News. (2010). Student guilty of attempted murder of MP Stephen Timms. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-11673616
Campelo, N., Oppetit, A., Neau, F., Cohen, D., & Bronsard, G. (2018). Who are the European youths willing to engage in radicalisation? A multidisciplinary review of their psychological and social profiles. European Psychiatry, 52, 1–14.
Cherney, A., Belton, E., Norham, S. A. B., & Milts, J. (2020). Understanding youth radicalisation: An analysis of Australian data. Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, 1–23.
Counter Extremism Project. (n.d.-a). Mehdi Nemmouche. Retrieved from https://www.counterextremism.com/extremists/mehdi-nemmouche
Counter Extremism Project. (n.d.-b). Amedy Coulibaly. Retrieved from https://www.counterextremism.com/extremists/amedy-coulibaly
Doosje, B., Moghaddam, F. M., Kruglanski, A. W., De Wolf, A., Mann, L., & Feddes, A. R. (2016). Terrorism, radicalization and de-radicalization. Current Opinion in Psychology, 11, 79–84.
Edwards, C., & Gribbon, L. (2013). Pathways to violent extremism in the digital era. The RUSI Journal, 158(5), 40–47.
Federal Bureau of Investigation. (n.d.). What is violent extremism? Retrieved from https://www.fbi.gov/cve508/teen-website/what-is-violent-extremism
Gill, P., Corner, E., Conway, M., Thornton, A., Bloom, M., & Horgan, J. (2017). Terrorist use of the Internet by the numbers: Quantifying behaviors, patterns, and processes. Criminology & Public Policy, 16(1), 99–117.
Gill, P., Corner, E., Thornton, A., & Conway, M. (2015). What are the roles of the Internet in terrorism? Measuring online behaviours of convicted UK terrorists. Australian National University.
Hegghammer, T. (2014). Interpersonal trust on Jihadi internet forums. Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, 1–43.
Helfstein, S. (2012). Edges of radicalization: Ideas, individuals and networks in violent extremism. Military Academy West Point NY Combating Terrorism Center.
Hern, A. (2019). Britons less trusting of social media than other major nations. The Guardian. Internet.
Home Office. (2015). Revised prevent duty guidance for England and Wales. Home Office.
Hoskins, A., & O’Loughlin, B. (2009). Media and the myth of radicalization. Media, War & Conflict, 2(2), 107–110.
Hussain, G., & Saltman, E. M. (2014). Jihad trending: A comprehensive analysis of online extremism and how to counter it. Quilliam.
Khan, S. (2019). Challenging hateful extremism. Commission for Countering Extremism.
Koehler, D. (2014). The radical online: Individual radicalization processes and the role of the Internet. Journal for Deradicalization, 1, 116–134.
Lindekilde, L., Malthaner, S., & O’Connor, F. (2019). Peripheral and embedded: Relational patterns of lone-actor terrorist radicalization. Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict, 12(1), 20–41.
Lynch, O. (2013). British Muslim youth: Radicalisation, terrorism and the construction of the “other”. Critical Studies on Terrorism, 6(2), 241–261.
McKenna, K. Y., & Bargh, J. A. (2000). Plan 9 from cyberspace: The implications of the Internet for personality and social psychology. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 4(1), 57–75.
Meeus, W. (2015). Why do young people become Jihadists? A theoretical account on radical identity development. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 12(3), 275–281.
Navarria, G. (2016). How the Internet was born: From the ARPANET to the Internet. The Conversation. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/how-the-Internet-was-born-from-the-arpanet-to-the-Internet-68072
Neo, L. S. (2016). An Internet-mediated pathway for online radicalisation: RECRO. In M. Khader, L. S. Neo, G. Ong, E. T. Mingyi, & J. Chin (Eds.), Combating violent extremism and radicalisation in the digital era (pp. 197–224). IGI Global.
Neumann, P. R. (2003). The trouble with radicalization. International Affairs, 89(4), 873–893.
O’Hara, K., & Stevens, D. (2015). Echo chambers and online radicalism: Assessing the Internet’s complicity in violent extremism. Policy & Internet, 7(4), 401–422.
Pearson, E. (2016). The case of Roshonara Choudhry: Implications for theory on online radicalization, ISIS women, and the gendered jihad. Policy & Internet, 8(1), 5–33.
Reed, A., Whittaker, J., Votta, F., & Looney, S. (2019). Radical filter bubbles: Social media personalization algorithms and extremist content. Global Research Network on Terrorism and Technology.
Renard, T., Coolsaet, R., Heinke, D. H., Malet, D., Minks, S., Raudszus, J., & Van Ginkel, B. (2018). Returnees: Who are they, why are they (not) coming back and how should we deal with them?: Assessing policies on returning foreign terrorist fighters in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands (Vol. 101). Egmont-Royal Institute for International Relations.
Saifudeen, O. A. (2014). The cyber extremism orbital pathways model. S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.
Sanchez, S. E. (2014). The internet and the radicalization of Muslim women. Western Political Science Association.
Schlegel, L. (2019, September 19). Chambers of secrets? Cognitive echo chambers and the role of social media in facilitating them. European Eye on Radicalisation. https://eeradicalization.com/echo-chambers-social-media-schlegel/
Schils, N., & Verhage, A. (2017). Understanding how and why young people enter radical or violent extremist groups. International Journal of Conflict and Violence, 11(2).
Schmid, A. P. (2013). Radicalisation, de-radicalisation, counter-radicalisation: A conceptual discussion and literature review. ICCT Research Paper, 97(1), 22.
Schmid, A. P. (2014). Violent and non-violent extremism: Two sides of the same coin. ICCT Research Paper, 1–29.
Scrivens, R., Gill, P., & Conway, M. (2020). The role of the internet in facilitating violent extremism and terrorism: Suggestions for progressing research. In The Palgrave handbook of international cybercrime and cyberdeviance (pp. 1417–1435). Springer.
Shahar, Y. (2007). The Internet as a tool for intelligence and counter-terrorism. In B. Ganor, K. Von Knop, & C. Duarte (Eds.), Hypermedia seduction for terrorist recruiting (pp. 140–153). IOS Press.
Soufan, A., & Schoenfeld, D. (2016). Regional hotbeds as drivers of radicalization. In Jihadist hotbeds: Understanding local radicalisation processes. ISPI.
Soufan Group. (2015). Foreign fighters: An updated assessment of the flow of foreign fighters into Syria and Iraq. Soufan Group.
Spears, R., Lea, M., & Lee, S. (1990). De-individuation and group polarization in computer-mediated communication. British Journal of Social Psychology, 29(2), 121–134.
Stephens, W., Sieckelinck, S., & Boutellier, H. (2019). Preventing violent extremism: A review of the literature. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 1–16.
Szmania, S., & Fincher, P. (2017). Countering violent extremism online and offline. Criminology & Public Policy, 16(1), 119–125. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/1745-9133.12267
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2012). The use of the Internet for terrorist purposes. Retrieved from https://www.unodc.org/documents/frontpage/Use_of_Internet_for_Terrorist_Purposes.pdf
Valentini, D., Lorusso, A. M., & Stephan, A. (2020). Onlife extremism: Dynamic integration of digital and physical spaces in radicalization. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 524.
Vincent, C., & Hunter-Henin, M. (2018). The trouble with teaching ‘British values’ in school. Independent. Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/british-values-education-what-schools-teach-extremism-culture-how-to-teachers-lessons-a8200351.html
Von Behr, I., Reding, A., Edwards, C., & Gribbon, L. (2013). Radicalisation in the digital era: The use of the Internet in 15 cases of terrorism and extremism. Retrieved from https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR400/RR453/RAND_RR453.pdf
Warner, B. R. (2010). Segmenting the electorate: The effects of exposure to political extremism online. Communication Studies, 61(4), 430–444.
Editors and Affiliations
© 2022 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
About this chapter
Cite this chapter
Gunton, K. (2022). The Impact of the Internet and Social Media Platforms on Radicalisation to Terrorism and Violent Extremism. In: Montasari, R., Carroll, F., Mitchell, I., Hara, S., Bolton-King, R. (eds) Privacy, Security And Forensics in The Internet of Things (IoT) . Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-91218-5_8
Publisher Name: Springer, Cham
Print ISBN: 978-3-030-91217-8
Online ISBN: 978-3-030-91218-5