Dr. Stuart MacDonald will present on "An examination of the dissemination of, and engagement with, Islamic State’s Dabiq magazine on Twitter"

Event Date: 

Friday, April 21, 2017 - 12:00pm

Event Location: 

  • SSMS 2135

On 31 July 2016 so-called Islamic State (IS) released issue 15 of their online English-language magazine Dabiq. In the 24 days that followed a total of 11,586 distinct accounts posted tweets/re-tweets mentioning the new issue. Using a bespoke platform, the researchers collected details of all these accounts, as well as the first tweet each account posted that mentioned Dabiq issue 15. This presentation will focus on two sets of findings. First, it will examine the 573 accounts that were suspended during the data collection period. It will be shown that the vast majority of these accounts were set up shortly before the new issue’s release and expressed support for either Dabiq or IS more generally. Second, it will examine the 3,271 accounts
whose first post contained original content. Whilst the predominant tone was critical, many of these tweets (n=1621) contained external links, either to the magazine itself or to news items covering its release. Putting these two sets of findings together, it will be concluded that the primary effect of efforts to disrupt IS propaganda on Twitter is not to suppress such content, but to shape the conversation.

Stuart Macdonald is Professor of Law and Criminology at Swansea University, U.K. His research interests lie in criminal law and counter-terrorism, particularly cyber-terrorism and terrorists’ use of the internet. Macdonald is a Co-Director of Swansea University’s EPSRC-funded CHERISH Digital Economy Centre and Director of the Swansea University’s multidisciplinary cyber-terrorism research project. To date, the Cyber-terrorism Project has conducted a survey of the global research community, compiled a database of definitions of cyber-terrorism, conducted a study of online terrorist magazines, compiled a database of news stories on cyber-terrorism, hosted a NATO Advanced Research Workshop and three international symposia, and published three edited collections and five policy reports. He is also holder of a Fulbright Cyber Security Award.

For more information, please visit the CITS website at www.cits.ucsb.edu.

Dr. Stuart Macdonald