Extremists use opaque memes and coded language at a massive scale. They often communicate simultaneously across several web platforms as well as in the offline world. Our previous, big data approach in unveiling online emerging threats was rapid and proved effective. It helped to overcome the shortcomings of manual investigation1 and qualitative characterization which, by themselves, cannot meet the challenge of analyzing such an enormous and multi-component system. Our research was the first to provide an in-depth characterization of the emerging threats against police by the extreme libertarian-anarchist movement, the Boogaloo; our assessment proved accurate, with terror attacks against law enforcement appearing only months after the report, including fatalities.
To date, though there have been anecdotal claims of similarly organized, violent anti-fascist and anarcho-socialist extremism, those claims have not been clearly supported by evidence. We thus deployed the same mixed computational/open source investigation approaches that we used to uncover threats of libertarian anarchist violence in order to determine whether we could detect potential threats of anarcho-socialist extremism.
Our primary research question was whether memes and codewords, private or fringe online forums, and hybrid real-world/online militia—the three characteristic tactics that support outbreaks of extremist violence for both Jihadi and Boogaloo extremism—are also prevalent in anti-fascist and anarcho-socialist groups.
Source: 9/14/20 – Network-Enabled Anarchy: How Militant Anarcho-Socialist Networks Use Social Media to Instigate Widespread Violence Against Political Opponents and Law Enforcement – Network Contagion Research Institute