Social networks ‘driving up violent extremism’

from Social networks – not radical ideology – are the major driver in the
creating violent extremists, according to the findings of a four year

More than 100 current and former extremists participated in the
study, which found that social networks and online forums were enabling
people to get in touch with “radical” and “terror” groups.

According to Greg Barton, the director of Monash University’s Global
Terror Research Centre, terrorists and radicals are often lonely
individuals who lack any sense of belonging.

“Your life hasn’t gone so well, you’re a bit of a failure…If you do
this thing, come join with us, you can go as they say from zero to hero
and that’s often the logic of a suicide bomber,” he said.

Mr Barton used Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik, who murdered 77
people in 2011, as an example of someone who found his voice and sense
of belonging online.

“He was reaching out on social media, connecting and posting pictures
of himself…Clearly his virtual community was very important to him.”

The research will be used to identify and prevent terrorism in the future.

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