Digital Analysis


ISD researchers provide thought leadership on key trends within extremism and granular on-the- ground insights that inform our programmes, training models and government policy worldwide.

The rise of social media has revolutionised our ability to research extremist groups, but only with the right tools and methods. The need to understand online behaviour, whether for commercial or policy purposes, has led to an explosion of social media analytic companies technologies. Yet too often, products designed for commercial and marketing purposes are unclear in their methodology and limitations and thus misapplied to policy and decision-making.

ISD and its strategic technology partners undertake a radically different approach, designing tools and dashboards that are tailored specifically to the challenge of understanding extremist movements and measuring the impact of strategic communications and interventions. In addition to ISD’s in-house campaign analysis tool, designed to be the most sophisticated in the world, ISD has formed key strategic partnerships with the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM) at the think tank Demos and the New York-based network mapping specialists Graphika. These partnerships and collaborations offer an open and honest approach to online analytics: rooted in methodological rigour, world-leading subject matter expertise, flexibility and adaptability, and geared towards decision-making.

In partnership with CASM, ISD is currently deploying its unique technology and approach to a range of counter-extremism projects, from implementing an automated process to identify individuals openly calling for or threatening violence for targeted one-to-one interventions, to understanding anti-refugee and xenophobic sentiment online.

ISD is currently working in close partnership with Graphika to produce insights and campaign analysis for the Online Civil Courage Initiative, as well as to understand extremist ecosystems across social media platforms in countries such as Kenya and Indonesia.


Resource links

  • To find out more information about ISD’s online analytic capabilities, you can contact ISD researchers Melanie Smith, Chloe Colliver or the Head of Policy and Research, Jonathan Birdwell.
Team
Chloe Colliver
Read Bio
Chloe Colliver

Head of Digital Policy and Strategy

×
Chloe Colliver
Chloe Colliver

Head of Digital Policy and Strategy

Chloe is Head of Digital Policy and Strategy at ISD, leading a global team of analysts studying disinformation and extremism online. Chloe has led programmes of work detecting and responding to online manipulation targeting the German, European Parliamentary, UK, Swedish and US Elections. Based on this research, Chloe advises governments and technology companies on responses to online harms from state and non-state networks. In this advisory capacity, Chloe has worked on the development of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism with Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and Google, and has provided expert testimony to the UK Home Affairs Select Committee, the Swedish, New Zealand, Canadian, French and German governments, the International Grand Committee on Disinformation and the Global Counter Terrorism Forum on digital policy and tech regulation. Her work has appeared in CNN, the BBC, Sky News, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wired and Bloomberg. Chloe is a Yale Mellon Fellow and sits on the Advisory Board for Accountable Tech.
Jacob Davey
Read Bio
Jacob Davey

Senior Research Manager, Far Right & Hate Crime

×
Jacob Davey
Jacob Davey

Senior Research Manager, Far Right & Hate Crime

Jacob Davey is a Research Manager at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue where he leads on research into the far-right. His research focuses on the role of digital communications in inter-communal conflict, internet culture, online hate speech and the international far-right. In addition to this he has led a number of projects piloting novel models for identifying extremist conversation online as well as interventions to counter this phenomenon. He has advised national and local policymakers on right-wing extremism, including the Home Affairs Select Committee, and has lead trainings with frontline practitioners on the mobilisation strategies of extremist groups. He has provided commentary on extremism-related issues in a number of platforms including The Guardian, The Independent, and The BBC, and also sits as a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right.
Amarnath Amarasingam
Read Bio
Amarnath Amarasingam

Senior Research Fellow

×
Amarnath Amarasingam
Amarnath Amarasingam

Senior Research Fellow

Amarnath Amarasingam, PhD, is a Senior Research Fellow at ISD. He is the author of Pain, Pride, and Politics: Social Movement Activism and the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora in Canada (2015). He is the editor of Sri Lanka: The Struggle for Peace in the Aftermath of War (2016), The Stewart/Colbert Effect: Essays on the Real Impacts of Fake News (2011) and Religion and the New Atheism: A Critical Appraisal (2010). He is also the author of several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, has presented papers at over 100 national and international conferences, and has written for Politico, The Atlantic, Vice News, Foreign Affairs, Al-Jazeera English, and War on the Rocks. Amarasingam is an experienced field researcher, having conducted hundreds of interviews for his PhD dissertation on social movement activism, organisational dynamics, and youth identity in the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora. He also conducted over 50 interviews with former fighters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, or Tamil Tigers) throughout the former war zones of Sri Lanka in 2012 and 2013. At the Turkey-Syria border, Amarasingam spoke with dozens of injured fighters, refugees, as well as former and current activists of the Syrian revolution. He has also conducted field research in Somalia, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, and amongst different ethnic and religious groups in North America and Europe. As co-director of a study of Western foreign fighters in Syria, he has conducted dozens of interviews with jihadists in Syria and Iraq, supporters of jihadist movements online, as well as family members and friends of individuals who have joined the fight abroad.
Jonathan Birdwell
Read Bio
Jonathan Birdwell

Senior Policy Fellow

×
Jonathan Birdwell
Jonathan Birdwell

Senior Policy Fellow

Jonathan is a Senior Policy Fellow at ISD. Until 2020, he was ISD’s Deputy Director with responsibility for Research, Policy and Cities work, overseeing ISD’s policy work and networks including the Policy Planners’ Network and the Strong Cities Network, as well as overseeing ISD’s work on education policy and programming. At ISD, Jonathan authored Prior to joining ISD, Jonathan was Head of Programme at the UK cross-party think tank Demos, where he published over forty research reports on topics including violent extremism both Islamist (The Edge of Violence, 2010) and Far-Right (The New Face of Digital Populism, 2011). Jonathan has also written extensively on education (The Forgotten Half, 2011), social and emotional learning (Character Nation, 2015), youth social action and attitudes towards politics (Tune In, Turn Out, 2014), digital politics and marketing (Like, Share, Vote, 2014), trust in government (Trust in Practice, 2010) and religion and integration (Rising to the Top, 2015), among other topics. Jonathan holds a Master’s degree (with distinction) from the London School of Economics and Political Science as well as Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Philosophy from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.