Experts at the University plan to collect propaganda published on the internet by Islamic State terrorists in real time in order to investigate its effect on encouraging people to commit political extremism.
ISIS uses social media notoriously, with the aim of eliciting fear and promoting its ideology. Academics will analyse its usage to understand the issues and claims made by the group.
The investigation’s aim is to strengthen the UK’s intelligence services to tackle propaganda strategies of terrorist organizations.
Exeter researchers will be conducting a large-scale, computer-assisted analysis of video and text, with the aim of identifying the tactics ISIS use to politically radicalise individuals. This includes scrutinizing the language and structure of the propaganda to gain greater insight into the arguments made by ISIS to promote terrorism.
The study will be led by Stephane Baele and Travis Coan from the Politics department at the University of Exeter, and Katharine Boyd, from the Sociology department, will also be taking part.
Dr Baele said: “We will make use of powerful, computational techniques to detect, gather, and analyse this propaganda. By combining rigorous methods and in-depth explanations, we ultimately hope to contribute to ongoing and future efforts to stop the appeal of violent organisations.”
“We hope to contribute to stop the appeal of violent organisations.”
The project has been funded by the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST), as part of a scheme of studies set up by Lancaster University.
Director of CREST, Professor Paul Taylor, has said that he is looking forward to working with the university. In a press preview regarding the issue at hand, he said:
“The successful projects promise innovation, rigour, and results that will make a difference to how we understand and counter security threats.”