Once a government or tech company develops a definition of terrorism or violent extremism, it can be difficult to know how to apply these definitions to the variety of ways that terrorism and violent extremism manifests internationally and across online spaces.

This section of the site aims to highlight contextual resources on themes related to applying definitions to the online space.  GIFCT funds the Global Network on Extremism and Technology (GNET) to bring forward actionable insights from experts and practitioners around the world to better inform and give context to tech companies, governments, practitioners and other stakeholders in this field. Insights are curated here under context-based themes.


CT Efforts/Positive Interventions

Counterterrorism and counter-extremism campaigns and interventions online have evolved in recent years. These efforts aim to intervene in processes of radicalization, deplatform known extremist networks, redirect users to counterspeech content and positive alternatives, or direct users to resources that can help them disengage from violent extremist networks. International academics have been evolving the intervention space to discuss measurement and evaluation of these campaigns and programs, as well as looking to the future in assessing where interventions can evolve and innovate.

Network Shutdowns

Internet shutdowns have been used by certain governments as a counterterrorism tool. Largely these have been justified as a way to prevent the spread of disinformation and the planning of further attacks in the aftermath of an attack. In 2018, the Sri Lanken government utilized network shutdowns in the aftermath of the Kandy riots, largely criticized and posing challenges for journalists, academics and activists who depend on the internet and social media platforms for accurate information, as well as individuals ability to adapt and use VPN servers to get around the shutdown. It is unclear if it can be measured that these extreme measures help in counterterrorism efforts and some research suggests an increase in terrorist violence after shutdowns.

  • 16th June 2021
    Stopping Terrorist Violence, One Cellphone Shutdown at a Time
    Fatima Mustafa
  • 05th March 2021
    Turning the Tap Off: The Impacts of Social Media Shutdown After Sri Lanka’s Easter Attacks
    Dr. Amarnath Amarasingam, Rukshana Rizwie
  • 31st July 2020
    From Fears to Conviction: Why Internet Shutdowns Don’t Work
    Prithvi Iyer

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