Countering violent extremism on social media – An overview of recent literature and Government of Canada projects with guidance for practitioners, policy-makers, and researchers


  1. Waldman, S.
  2. Verga, S.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Centre for Security Science, Ottawa ON (CAN)
Increasingly, social media is playing a role in recruitment to violent extremism, and governments are designing interventions to detect, understand, and counteract the impact of violent extremist recruitment materials on social media and other internet channels. In addition to more traditional surveillance and law enforcement interventions, authorities are increasingly focusing on policies and programs to enable preventive activities such as employing on-line counter-messaging to counteract susceptibility to violent extremist ideologies, or engaging and supporting communities in “real life” efforts to build resilience to these ideologies at the grassroots level. However, sparse metrics and a shortfall of detailed and contextualized understandings of the processes by which radicalization occur make it difficult for governments to assess the success of these policies and programs. Specifically, more evidence is needed to support direct interventions for countering violent extremism on social media and the internet with assurance. This report sums up research that has been funded by various agencies and departments of the Government of Canada into the effectiveness of different countering violent extremism activities on social media and the internet, with the intent of helping to guide further actions. After reviewing the literature on what types of interventions into violent extremism on the internet appear to work, it concludes with a set of recommendations for policy-make

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violent extremism;CVE (countering violent extremism);radicalization;counter-radicalization;community engagement;social media;SOCMINT (social media intelligence);OSINT (open source intelligence)
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2016-R229 — Scientific Report
Date of publication
01 Nov 2016
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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