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New developments in online extremism and implications for youthwork
New developments in online extremism and implications for youthwork

Tue, 27 Sept



New developments in online extremism and implications for youthwork

Final event of the CAYET project with keynote speech by Jakob Guhl of Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) - watch recording on YouTube

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Time & Location

27 Sept 2022, 16:00 – 18:00 CEST


About the event

Manifestations of extremism online are in a continuous process of change, as technologies evolve and extremist actors adapt, learn, and become more creative in their ideological constructs and recruitment techniques.

This online event discusses and assesses new developments regarding extremist actors’ evolving strategies, narratives and formats as well as particularities of social media platforms newly exploited by extremist players. The focus is on both Islamist and right-wing extremist actors, including COVID-19 related conspiracy theories. Participants will furthermore discuss the effects of these developments on youthwork and the tools available to counteract and prevent youth radicalization. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the role of the two new repositories for youthwork developed in the framework of the Erasmus+ project CAYET: a repository of scientific findings, concepts and theories, and a repository of practical tools.

The event is initiated by a keynote speech by Jakob Guhl from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) and continues with a panel discussion involving involving Werner Prinzjakowitsch (Viennese Youth Centres), Ashton Kingdon (University of Southhampton), Fabian Reicher (bOJA) as well as Jakob Guhl (ISD) - moderation by Daniela Pisoiu (oiip).

In his keynote speech, Jakob Guhl (Senior Manager, Policy & Research at ISD) will outline some of the trends that he has been observing within extremist communities online, with a focus on German-speaking countries. How have extremist communities online changed over the past few years, and what are the formats and platforms they use trying to appeal to young people in particular?

Abstract of the keynote: The landscape of extremist movements online is in flux: the boundaries between disinformation, conspiracy theories, targeted hate, harassment and far-right communities online have become blurred. In the wake of Covid-19, there has been a massive proliferation of conspiracy networks in German-speaking online communities, allowing extremist movements to enlarge their sphere of influence to expanded audiences, especially on platforms like Telegram that are either unwilling or unable to moderate extremist content.

Salafism online is similarly adapting, with German-speaking preachers, influencers and activists diversifying their range of formats to connect with a range of audiences and provide detailed advice relating to all aspects of life, from the spiritual and political to the private sphere. In addition to in-depth sermons their repertoire now includes interactive Q&A sessions, stylised informational videos, street dawah recordings and easily digestible TikTok clips.

At the same time, extremists have been migrating away from major social media platforms, partially in reaction to increasing enforcement of mainstream platforms’ terms of service, but also fuelled by the new opportunities provided by emerging technologies and platform features. As digital technology continues to evolve at ever-increasing speed - from the decentralised softwares like PeerTube, AI-generated content, to blockchain-based platforms like Odysee - it is vital to consider how it could to make it harder to address or even research harmful online activity.


  • 30 minutes

    Introduction & keynote speech by Jakob Guhl from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD)

  • 1 hour 10 minutes

    Panel discussion with Werner Prinzjakowitsch, Ashton Kingdon, Fabian Reicher, Jakob Guhl and Daniela Pisoiu

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