Peter Neumann of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR) recently talked about the myths and realities of online radicalization and what can be done to address it. In the video, Neumann focuses on jihadist radicalization because that is his area of expertise, but also says:
A lot of the insights that I’m going to convey to you, you can easily transfer to other kinds of radicalization. So if you’re particularly interested in, for example, how people become far-right extremists then a lot of what’s in this presentation, even though it doesn’t deal directly with far-right extremism, is also relevant to you.
Terrorists or violent extremists aren’t as exceptional as we always think they are. In the media they are often portrayed almost as if they are people from mars, but in reality, of course, they are people in a way like us, and they are using the internet for exactly the same purposes that all of us are using the internet for, which is to communicate, to create networks, to exchange information and of course to convince other people of their ideas. Their ideas, of course, are different, the content of what they are doing is different, but the ways that they interact with people are not fundamentally different.