How Extremism Spreads - RSA

How Extremism Spreads

Public talks


Durham Street Auditorium, RSA House

  • Social networks
  • Technology

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Groups embracing fanatical ideologies are on the rise worldwide. How can understanding their social and online behaviour help to counter them?

Extremist groups are by no means a new phenomenon, but the internet has radically changed the way these groups operate, turbo-charging their ability to target and recruit susceptible people and advance dangerous agendas. What brings people to these networks, and what keeps them there? How do they mobilise their members to spread hate and disinformation, plot intimidation campaigns, and coordinate terrorist activity?

Counter-extremism expert Julia Ebner shares the findings from her time spent undercover in these dark corners of the internet, observing how the cultures of extremist groups operate and how they are evolving. Technologically smart, emotionally manipulative, and socially powerful, these networks threaten to shift our politics and our societies in a dangerous direction – but understanding how they play on our weaknesses and exploit the tools at their disposal, Ebner tells us, is key to protecting ourselves and each other against the harms of extremist ideology. 

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