Research and analysis

Extremism online: analysis of extremist material on social media

Professor Imran Awan, Birmingham City University, Hollie Sutch, Birmingham City University, Dr Pelham Carter, Birmingham City University.


Extremism online: analysis of extremist material on social media

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.


This paper examines the role of extremism online and uses two primary studies to generate empirical evidence that examines the differences between general online discussion of extremism and discussion inspired by offline events through the analysis of tweets and YouTube comments. We focus on two offline events (the Shamima Begum case and the New Zealand Christchurch terrorist attacks).

Our findings suggest that increased anonymity is associated with an increase in extremist language, that conspiracy theory and media bias based language is more common in response to offline events than general online discussion.

Published 31 July 2019