This summary captures the main findings of a longitudinal content analysis of a known foreign fighter’s (FF) public social media activity for signs of radicalization toward violent extremism.
In 2013, The SecDev Group undertook a 10-month Kanishka-funded project that set out, in part, to explore methodologies and technologies for open source social media (OSSM) research and their potential utility for detecting weak signals of radicalization towards violent extremism online.
This paper summarizes some of the OSSM research explorations undertaken by the project, including an operational literature review, content-first methods for surfacing communities at risk of radicalization, actor-centric social network analysis using seed networks and including a detailed assessment of a Foreign Fighter’s Twitter Feed, before and after travel). The paper includes observations from a practitioner stakeholder workshop on privacy and ethical issues related to OSSM for public safety and the prevention of violent extremism. The report contains 9 methodological takeaways, 7 lessons learned and 4 recommendations. An overarching recommendation is on the need for collaborative research design, involving community-led and community-facing PVE practitioners.