This article is a seminal piece and a foundational resource in the field of social media analytics and open source intelligence by some of the field’s leading authors.
This article attempts to address the challenge of surveilling potential lone-wolf terrorists. Since these individuals act on their own, information cannot be collected using traditional police methods such as infiltration or wiretapping. Cohen et al. believe that one way to discover these individuals before attacks occur is to search the internet for “weak signals”, including traces left in extremist web forums. The authors turn their attention to the tools and techniques that can be used to detect such weak signals in the form of linguistic markers for potential lone wolf terrorists.
Practitioners can benefit from this study’s thorough overview of various techniques and tools to support intelligence analysis. Researchers will also be interested in the authors’ discussion of the role of police and intelligence agencies in social media monitoring and analysis in view of catching potential lone wolf terrorists.