Violence begetting violence: An examination of extremist content on deep Web social networks

  • Simon Malevich Control Risks
  • Tom Robertson
Keywords: terrorism, alt-right, 4chan, 8chan, white nationalism, Christchurch

Abstract

Several incidents of mass violence in 2019 were preceded by manifestoes posted to deep Web social media sites by their perpetrators. These sites, most notably 4chan and 8chan, are buried in the deep Web, away from the neutralizing effects of broad public discourse. Many of the posts to these sites reference earlier extremist incidents, and indeed the incidents themselves mimic aspects of previous attacks. Building on previous research, this paper examines these deep Web social media sites. Through an analysis of traffic and posts, we confirm that these sites often act as a self-reinforcing community of users encouraging each other to violence, and we map a statistically significant rise in ”post volume” on these sites immediately following terrorist attacks.

Author Biographies

Simon Malevich, Control Risks

Simon Malevich is a security consultant at Control Risks in London, and Master's of Global Affairs candidate at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. He has experience countering extremist messaging in the Royal Navy, and past roles in the Canadian Armed Forces and the Global Coalition Against Daesh within the U.K.'s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Tom Robertson

Managing partner of 3i Partners, a Toronto-based risk consultancy firm

Published
2020-02-24
How to Cite
Malevich, S., & Robertson, T. (2020). Violence begetting violence: An examination of extremist content on deep Web social networks. First Monday, 25(3). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v25i3.10421