Grasping at Thin Air: Countering Terrorist Narratives Online
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Sarah Logan, ‘Grasping at Thin Air: Countering Terrorist Narratives Online’, in Anne Aly, Stuart Macdonald, Lee Jarvis, and Thomas Chen, eds, Violent Extremism Online: New Perspectives on Terrorism and the Internet, Abingdon: Routledge, 2016, pp. 149-66.
In the months following 9/11, security agencies focused on disrupting core al-Qaeda networks and pre-empting threats. Measures such as increased surveillance and increased powers of the police and security services, which continue to define today’s counterterrorism environment, were put in place in these early days. This chapter outlines an innovation in counterterrorism that has emerged since 2001, indeed largely since 2005: the promotion of online counter-narratives by security agencies, targeted at shaping the way consumers of online content view the world around them in the context of post-9/11 terrorism. This innovation developed in response to the emergence of al-Qaeda-inspired and directed home-grown extremism of the sort exemplified by the 2005 London bombings.