Research & Analysis

ISD research combines in-depth analysis with cutting-edge technology to monitor and understand global trends in extremism, polarisation, hate and disinformation.

Our research has been consistently ahead of the curve, predicting developments in extremism and informing global responses to emerging challenges.

ISD’s research combines world-leading expertise in these fields with the latest artificial intelligence and online research techniques, analysing data across social media at speed and scale. This includes the established technology giants, as well as emergent or fringe platforms that dominate the ‘alt media’. With tech and academic partners, we have built tools to map online extremist ecosystems, from mainstream social media to encrypted and dark web ‘alt-tech’ platforms.

We feed insights from our global networks of policymakers, practitioners and grassroots organisations directly into our research, helping inform our understanding of different problems and the effectiveness of different solutions.

Our research has a strong ethical framework and is action-focussed, with transparent methods and objectives. ISD’s research is built on three core pillars: knowledge, tools and networks.

  • Knowledge
    Our multi-disciplinary team of researchers combine ethnographic, qualitative and quantitative methodologies with world-leading expertise that stretches from violent extremism through to polarisation, hate speech and disinformation.

  • Tools
    Our analysis uses both commercial products and bespoke tools. We have built tools to map online extremist ecosystems, from mainstream social media to encrypted and dark web ‘alt-tech’ platforms and fringe sites spreading disinformation.

  • Networks
    We share our insights with a range of audiences to help them improve their responses to these threats. This includes ‘data dashboards’ for local governments; trend briefings for counter-hate organisations; education resources for schools and youth groups; and media reporting for the public.

ISD’s Digital Analysis Unit as featured in a BBC documentary, 2020

ISD youth networks, such as YouthCAN, are among the beneficiaries of our digital insights

  • Primary Research and Data Sets
    Anthropological research and primary data-sets inform our programming and strategic interventions. These include extensive research on transnational white supremacist and Islamist extremist movements, disinformation, ISIS foreign fighters and their families.

  • Digital Analysis Unit
    ISD’s Digital Analysis Unit is dedicated to better understanding how extremist and hate groups use technology. We combine a team of leading ethnographic researchers with the latest audience mapping, targeting and evaluation technology in order to monitor and respond to online bad actors in real-time.

  • Hate Observatory
    The Hate Observatory is an open access database of far-right activity created in collaboration with MIT’s Civic Media Center.

ISD’s research team

Rashad Ali
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Rashad Ali

Resident Senior Fellow

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Rashad Ali
Rashad Ali

Resident Senior Fellow

Rashad Ali is a Senior Fellow at ISD. As a counter terrorism practitioner, he works on deradicalisation initiatives alongside Prisons, Probation Services, Police and community groups. He was formerly a national leadership member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, the revolutionary Islamist organisation. He has been actively involved in undermining its extreme ideology and perversion of Muslim faith since his departure. He is classically trained in Islamic theology and jurisprudence and Modern studies in Islam. He studied at al-Azhar University, Cairo, and the Markfield Institute. As a researcher he has given testimony and contributed submissions to the Home Affairs Select Committee on Radicalisation, the Parliamentary Select Committee on Intelligence and has briefed the London Mayor's office on Counter Terrorism. He is the author of: 'Islam, Shariah and the Far Right' published by Demoqratiya journal; 'A Guide to Refuting Jihadism' published by HJS and EFD; a chapter analyizing Hizb ut Tahrir ideology and strategy, and more recently 'Blasphemy and Free Speech - Hebdo and reactions to the incidents in Paris', for the ISD. He has been consulted by think tanks and governments in Germany, Denmark, the EU and the US. He works across Europe. He is an external lecturer for Derby University’s Master Class courses on Radicalisation and Counter Terrorism. He has written for The Observer, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, The Times, Dissent Magazine, Birlingske in Denmark, Conservative Home, and given commentary for Newsnight, BBC News. He was a researcher and Assistant Producer for BBC's flagship Panorama documentary show.
Moustafa Ayad
Moustafa Ayad

Executive Director for Africa, the Middle East and Asia (AMEA)

Milo Comerford
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Milo Comerford

Head of Policy & Research, Counter-Extremism

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Milo Comerford
Milo Comerford

Head of Policy & Research, Counter-Extremism

Milo Comerford is Head of Policy & Research, Counter-Extremism, leading ISD’s work developing innovative research approaches and policy responses to extremism. Milo regularly briefs senior decision makers around the world on extremism challenges, advising governments, tech companies and international agencies on building strategies for effective responses. Milo features regularly in international media, including CNN, BBC News, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Times, Sky News and Al Jazeera. Milo was previously Senior Analyst at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, where he led major research projects on Salafi-jihadi propaganda, international educational responses to extremism, and the transnational far right.
Chloe Colliver
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Chloe Colliver

Head of Digital Policy and Strategy

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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
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Jacob Davey

Head of Research & Policy, Far-right and Hate Movements

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Jacob Davey
Jacob Davey

Head of Research & Policy, Far-right and Hate Movements

Jacob Davey is Head of Research & Policy, Far-right and Hate Movements at ISD. 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. Jake 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.
Cooper Gatewood
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Cooper Gatewood

Senior Digital Research Manager

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Cooper Gatewood
Cooper Gatewood

Senior Digital Research Manager

Cooper is a Senior Digital Research Manager at ISD, working predominantly within the Digital Analysis Unit. Cooper focuses on qualitative and quantitative research into extremism and radicalisation on social media platforms, and how they can be best counter-acted through counter-narrative campaigns. He also assists on a number of other research projects within ISD. Prior to joining ISD, Cooper worked at Portland, where he advised clients from the non-profit and government sectors on their media engagement and social media strategies. Cooper holds a Masters of International Affairs from Columbia University and a Masters of International Security from Sciences Po. He has a background in quantitative research and data visualisation. He also speaks fluent Spanish and French, as well as proficient Japanese.
Cécile Guerin
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Cécile Guerin

Coordinator, Technology, Communications & Education

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Cécile Guerin
Cécile Guerin

Coordinator, Technology, Communications & Education

Cécile Guerin is a Coordinator at ISD, supporting the organisation’s European development and analysis work. She works on the Online Civil Courage Initiative (OCCI), a Facebook-funded project which aims to upscale civil society efforts against hate speech and extremism online. Cécile also contributes to ISD’s research and policy work, with a focus on social media analysis and network mapping related to hate speech, extremism and disinformation online. She has written for a range of publications, including The Guardian, Prospect and The Independent. Prior to joining ISD, Cécile spent two years working in publishing. Cécile holds an MSc in International History from the London School of Economics and an MA in English from the École Normale Supérieure in France.
Jakob Guhl
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Jakob Guhl

Research Manager

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Jakob Guhl
Jakob Guhl

Research Manager

Jakob Guhl is a Manager at the ISD, where he mainly works with the digital research team. Jakob has co-authored research reports on extreme right terrorism, Holocaust denial, the alternative online-ecosystem of the far-right, reciprocal radicalisation between the far-right and Islamist extremists, coordinated trolling campaigns, hate speech and disinformation campaigns targeting elections. He is a frequent commentator on German radio and broadcast, including Deutschlandfunk, Tagesthemen, NDR and Radio Eins. Jakob has been invited to present his research about online hate to the German Ministry of the Justice and provided evidence to the German Minister of the Interior and the German Family Minister on how to strengthen prevention against right-wing extremism and antisemitism. His research has been featured in Die Zeit, The Guardian, DW, The Telegraph, CNN, Euronews, Coda Story, Vice, Politico, New Republic and Die Welt, among others. Additionally, he has published articles in the “Journal for Deradicalisation”, “Demokratie gegen Menschenfeindlichkeit”, Taz, Der Standard, GNET and co-authored an essay for an edited volume of the Munich Residence Theatre about the origins of contemporary political anger. Jakob holds an MA in Terrorism, Security and Society from King’s College London.
Mackenzie Hart
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Mackenzie Hart

Analyst

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Mackenzie Hart
Mackenzie Hart

Analyst

Mackenzie is an Analyst at ISD, working across various projects in the research and policy team. Mackenzie focuses on hate, disinformation, and the far-right and has also been involved with ISD’s election analysis units, mapping and analysing online information operations, as well as the activities of extremist groups. Before coming to ISD, Mackenzie completed her MA in Terrorism, Security and Society at King’s College London, where she also worked as an intern at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) and as a research assistant in the War Studies department. Her dissertation analysed the manifesto of Identitarian group, Generation Identity. From December 2015 to March 2016, Mackenzie lived in Sierra Leone, volunteering for a grassroots NGO supporting youth-led, community development projects and education. Originally from Canada, Mackenzie obtained her BA from Simon Fraser University with a double major in International Studies and History.
Henry Tuck
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Henry Tuck

Head of Policy & Research

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Henry Tuck
Henry Tuck

Head of Policy & Research

Henry Tuck is Head of Policy & Research at ISD, responsible for the overall management of the Institute’s research programme, including oversight of all publications, research methods, and ethics across a variety of topics, from disinformation to the far-right and extremism online. Henry also leads ISD’s policy-focused work to counter online harms in collaboration with a range of key stakeholders, advising leading governments, international organisations and major private sector tech companies. Since starting at ISD in 2013, Henry has previously driven fundraising, strategy and the development of new projects and partnerships, led a series of ISD’s education and counter-narrative projects (including Extreme Dialogue and Be Internet Citizens), designed the Institute’s Monitoring and Evaluation frameworks, and conducted research on foreign fighters, deradicalisation and the far-right. He holds a Masters (with distinction) in International Conflict Studies from Kings College London, and a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Durham University.
Amarnath Amarasingam
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Amarnath Amarasingam

Senior Research Fellow

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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.