I'm investigating the propaganda of Islamic State

Credit: Amélie Philibert - Benoît Gougeon

In 5 seconds

For her doctorate, Valentine Crosset is probing how the terrorist group goes about creating and organizing its online propaganda.

My PhD deals with the propaganda of the terrorist group Islamic State, which uses the Internet a lot to reach audiences in the West. Twitter is one of IS's favorite platforms, but so too these days is Telegram, the encrypted messaging app. To understand how the system works, I practise "virtual ethnography." I created a neutral Twitter profile that allows me to access tweets  without having to write any myself. I didn't assume a fake identity, because my study is completely transparent. So far I have been able to find about 600 Twitter accounts in some way connected to terrorist activities. These accounts can be easily spotted and closed down by administrators. To keep a record of each, I take screenshots. My research aims to better understand how terrorist groups use social networks and stay visible on the Web. After defending my thesis, I hope to pursue a university career.

Valentine Crosset

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social media research criminology