Everything Is Just Dandy!

Map of Online Violent Extremist Rhetoric Can Inform Counter-Efforts

RAND: Featured Research
Heather J. Williams; Luke J. Matthews; Pauline Moore; Matthew A. DeNardo; James V. Marrone; Brian A. Jackson; William Marcellino; Todd C. Helmus

Racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism (REMVE) and extremists (REMVEs) present some of the most pressing threats to the United States. REMVE also has been identified as the White identity terrorist movement (WITM). REMVEs are among the most lethal domestic violent extremists, and they are the most likely to commit mass-casualty attacks. These movements are characterized by a broad ideological orientation toward xenophobic, anti-Semitic, racist, and misogynistic sentiment.

For this report, the authors reviewed the relevant literature on REMVE networks and collected and analyzed social media data from six social networks (Twitter, Reddit, Gab, Ruqqus, Telegram, and Stormfront) to produce a global network map of the digital REMVE space. That network map evaluates each network’s construction, connectivity, geographic location, references to prominent organizations, and proclivity to violence. The authors also reviewed ten countries’ experiences with REMVE to sketch out an understanding of the REMVE space in these countries and how REMVEs in those countries relate to those in the United States.

This research was sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and conducted within the International Security and Defense Policy Center of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).

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