Title

Counter-Radicalization Bot ResearchUsing Social Bots to Fight Violent Extremism

Date of Publication

2020 12:00 AM

Security Theme

Violent Extremism

Keywords

srhreports, violentextremism, counterterrorism, global security, information operations, the internet, terrorism threat assessment, terrorist organizations, violent extremism

Description

The speed and diffusion of online recruitment for such violent extremist organizations (VEOs) as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have challenged existing efforts to effectively intervene and engage in counter-radicalization in the digital space. This problem contributes to global instability and violence. ISIL and other groups identify susceptible individuals through open social media (SM) dialogue and eventually seek private conversations online and offline for recruiting. This shift from open and discoverable online dialogue to private and discreet recruitment can occur quickly and offers a short window for intervention before the conversation and the targeted individuals disappear. The counter-radicalization messaging enterprise of the U.S. government may benefit from a sophisticated capability to rapidly detect targets of VEO recruitment efforts and deliver counter-radicalization content to them. In this report, researchers examine the applicability of promising emerging technology tools, particularly automated SM accounts known as bots, to this problem. Their work has implications for efforts to counter the growing threat of state-sponsored propagandists conducting disinformation campaigns or radicalizing U.S. domestic extremists online and assesses the feasibility and advisability of the U.S. government employing social bot technology for counter-radicalization and related purposes. The analysis draws on interviews with a range of subject-matter experts from industry, government, and academia as well as reviews of legal and ethical considerations of using bots, the literature on the development and application of bot technology, and case studies on past uses of social bots to influence individuals, gather information, and conduct messaging campaigns.

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

Counter-Radicalization Bot ResearchUsing Social Bots to Fight Violent Extremism

The speed and diffusion of online recruitment for such violent extremist organizations (VEOs) as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have challenged existing efforts to effectively intervene and engage in counter-radicalization in the digital space. This problem contributes to global instability and violence. ISIL and other groups identify susceptible individuals through open social media (SM) dialogue and eventually seek private conversations online and offline for recruiting. This shift from open and discoverable online dialogue to private and discreet recruitment can occur quickly and offers a short window for intervention before the conversation and the targeted individuals disappear. The counter-radicalization messaging enterprise of the U.S. government may benefit from a sophisticated capability to rapidly detect targets of VEO recruitment efforts and deliver counter-radicalization content to them. In this report, researchers examine the applicability of promising emerging technology tools, particularly automated SM accounts known as bots, to this problem. Their work has implications for efforts to counter the growing threat of state-sponsored propagandists conducting disinformation campaigns or radicalizing U.S. domestic extremists online and assesses the feasibility and advisability of the U.S. government employing social bot technology for counter-radicalization and related purposes. The analysis draws on interviews with a range of subject-matter experts from industry, government, and academia as well as reviews of legal and ethical considerations of using bots, the literature on the development and application of bot technology, and case studies on past uses of social bots to influence individuals, gather information, and conduct messaging campaigns.