Rethinking the Role of Virtual Communities in Terrorist Websites

Document Type



Published in: CTX: Social Media in Jibad and Counterterrorism, Vol. 2, no. 4, November, 2012


Researchers have established that most extremist websites seek to fulfill five basic goals: to disseminate propaganda, organize the membership, communicate information, fundraise, and recruit new members. In 2001, Jenine Abboushi Dallal suggested that terrorists were embracing the Web as a platform from which to recast their images.In her view, extremist groups went online not so much to engage in dialogue, but rather to offer a "counter information system," and to create a virtual community. Dallal contended that these sites were not meant to be participatory or interactive, but rather were created to promote a tightly controlled authoritarian narrative.