Failure and success of jihadi information operations on the Internet
Zoto, Edval N.
Robinson, Glenn E.
Warren, T. Camber
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Obscure entities, individuals, and organizations engaged in jihad have made the Internet their most powerful tool for conducting information operations. Internet outlets, especially social networking sites, provide jihadis with access to the whole world. At the same time, the current Internet environment allows sustainable research about the uses of these resources for the cause of jihad, and simultaneously provides new opportunities to counterterrorist agencies. This thesis proposes an artisanal approach to analyze jihadism on the Internet. Specifically, by identifying prominent jihadi leaders recommendations on the spread of the call to jihad by fellow jihadis, we set up assumptions on what potentially makes jihadi information operations on social networking sites successful. Sets of data publicly available on the Internet and within the most popular social networking sites are identified and framed in line with the jihadi leadership recommendations. A case study and related data are gathered and analyzed to test these assumptions. The results of the analysis may enable researchers to speed data collection by identifying only potentially successful jihadi presences on the Web, and allow counterterrorist bodies to target jihadi Web spaces efficiently. The thesis also provides a background on jihadi approaches to public relations, an empirical analysis of terrorists challenges and counterterrorists opportunities on the Internet, a case study and a methodology for analyzing jihadism on the most visited social networking sites.
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