The Islamic State’s Imagined Community

This Dispatch looks at the links between the largest online archive of Islamic State materials and a real-world IS case. It raises a set of policy considerations for managing online contingents of movements like the Islamic State and disrupting the creation and management of such archives.

Archiving the Islamic State in Real Time

New analysis by ISD and CTC focuses on Islamic State-affiliated content stored on digital archives, and the method of creating hubs of information to preserve such materials. Such research reveals one small part of the movement’s ongoing efforts to document its path to stay relevant in the future.

A Snapshot of Far-Right Activity on Gab in Australia

New analysis by researchers at ISD and the Institute for Sustainable Industries & Liveable Cities at Victoria University analyses the interplay between far-right and far-left groups in the state of Victoria, Australia on the alt-tech social networking platform Gab.

COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation Monitor: The Netherlands

In the online world, conspiracies and misinformation are often used to downplay the severity of the coronavirus, undermine efforts to tackle its spread and promote anxieties about the vaccine. This briefing examines how Dutch communities on Facebook promoted COVID-19 vaccine misinformation throughout April.

Climate is the New Front in the Culture Wars

The far right has stoked up fear of immigration, elites, and multiculturalism. Now, extremists are turning their attention online to the alleged threat of the green agenda – with an eye to discrediting COP-26.

Amazon’s Algorithms, Conspiracy Theories and Extremist Literature

The role of algorithms in boosting conspiracy theories and radicalisation has been brought into sharp focus over the past year. Using Amazon’s book sales platform, Elise Thomas illustrates how such problems with algorithmic recommendation extend far beyond social media platforms.

COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation Monitor: MENA

Conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines are rampant across Arabic-language Facebook entities. Recent analysis by ISD has found connections to dominant COVID-19 vaccine misinformation narratives and influencers tied to the Middle East and North Africa's geo-politics.

The Salience of Climate Issues in the German State Elections

Ahead of the German state elections in Baden-Württemberg and Rheinland-Pfalz, ISD analysts examined climate-related discussion on social media. The goal was to interrogate how social media drives climate-related debate during an election period,.

COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation Monitor: Canada

In Canada, protests against COVID-19 restrictions fuelled by conspiracies and misinformation have generated anger and hostility. This briefing takes a closer look at Canadian communities who were promoting COVID-19 vaccine misinformation throughout February.

COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation Monitor: Ireland

In recent months, clashes at anti-lockdown protests have shown how online vitriol can lead to offline violence. We take a look at the nature of some of this online vitriol in Ireland throughout January - and find that Irish COVID-19 vaccine misinformation communities on Facebook are on the rise.

COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation Monitor

The same social media tools being used to inform the public about COVID-19 vaccinations are also being used to misinform people on a massive scale. Throughout 2021, Digital Dispatches will examine key COVID-19 vaccine misinformation themes in different countries.

The Long Road to the Capitol: Laying the Groundwork

This is the first in a three-part Digital Dispatches series that looks back at how a year of online extremist mobilisation precipitated a violent assault on the heart of American democracy on January 6 2021.

Narratives of Violence around the 2020 Presidential Election

Donald Trump’s use of divisive and inflammatory rhetoric as a means through which to govern and campaign is longstanding, but it arguably reached its apex with his 2020 re-election bid – the consequences of which are both severe and growing.   

Why Voter Fraud Narratives Remain Persistent

The importance of pushing back against misleading and false narratives in their early stages was made clear in the midst of the 2020 US presidential election, when efforts to debunk mainstreamed voter fraud narratives instead ran the risk of amplifying the narratives further.

The Travels of Far-Right Narratives through Online-Media Ecosystems

New research by ISD tracks far-right narratives from the US, France and Germany, looking at how such narratives gain traction in domestic mainstream media and exploring if and how narratives move from the far-right’s online media ecosystem to different geographical and political contexts.

When it Comes to Political Messaging, do Opposites Attract?

How do the far-right and far-left discuss each other on Facebook? How do narratives about the other side of the political spectrum shape the online activity of these groups? An analysis of the far-right and far-left Facebook ecosystem in Australia looks at how central discussion of the ‘other side’ is to each movement.

The Dominion Voting Systems Election Narrative: Going Viral

When Donald Trump retweeted a post claiming that Dominion Voting Systems had partnered with the Clinton Global Initiative to deliberately switch ballots intended for Trump to Joe Biden, a narrative of election rigging began that would spread online, and which will likely resurface again.

The Dominion Voting Systems Election Narrative: Beginnings

A tweet baselessly claimed that Dominion Voting Systems had partnered with the Clinton Global Initiative to switch ballots intended for Trump to Joe Biden. It was the peak of a narrative combining technology and corruption concerns with the need to explain Trump’s increasingly apparent election defeat.

The ‘Content Blitz’: Social Media Response Times to Terrorist Content

ISIS continues to deploy social media recruitment strategies when opportunities arise. In an effort to understand each social media platform’s strengths and weaknesses in terms of striking terrorist content off their platforms, ISD timed platforms' takedowns of content egregiously violating their policies.

Online Reactions of the Far Right to the Far Left

On 31 May 2020, President Trump tweeted that the far-left network Antifa would be designated a “Terrorist Organization.” ISD researchers monitored the reactions to Trump’s tweet by far-right actors online.

The Shifting Conversation around Antifa

ISD researchers conducted a long-term analysis of conversations around the loose network of far-left organisations known as Antifa between January 2019 and June 2020.

Welcome to Digital Dispatches

Digital Dispatches is the place to come for cutting-edge analysis that might otherwise fall between our in-depth research publications, our weekly Lens on Hate trend briefings, or our commentary in the press.