PANDORA Blog series

Social media has increasingly become a place of aggressive social and political conflict. Far right and Salafist-Jihadist actors are picking up on this mood and fueling it with propaganda and calls for violence. These debates thus exemplify a dynamic of violence both in the social networks and in the real world, especially in the context of the debates on flight and asylum. In this context, political and religious radicalization have become everyday phenomena and permanent topics in media, politics and society.

Still, not much is known about the favorable conditions that might enable radicalization processes. The project network “Propaganda, Mobilization and Radicalization in the virtual and real World. Causes, Processes and Counter-Strategies in the Context of the Asylum and Refugee Debate“ (short: PANDORA) aims to close this research gap.

The project group PANDORA particularly examined discourses in social media and asked which mobilization and radicalization effects these generate in the real world. Discourses and mobilization strategies on the Internet were systematically analyzed and mapped. In addition, milieu studies were carried out at different locations to identify the conditions which promote or prevent radicalization processes via Internet communication.

Gefördert vom BMBF

In this blog series, the project partners present their research results and the insights they gained on the topic. For further information about the project and many results see the project website (German only). The series started on March 24 and will feature up to ten posts from all project partners.


Most posts in this series are also cross-published as Insights at the The Global Network on Extremism and Technology (GNET) website. GNET Research Logo


Blogreihe PANDORA

In dieser Blogreihe stellt das Projektnetzwerk PANDORA (Deutsch: Propaganda, Mobilisierung und Radikalisierung in der virtuellen und realen Welt. Ursachen, Prozesse und Gegenstrategien im Kontext der Asyl- und Flüchtlingsdebatte) seine Ergebnisse vor. Im Fokus der Forschung standen insbesondere die Diskurse in den sozialen Medien mit der Frage, welche Mobilisierungs- und Radikalisierungseffekte diese in der realen Welt erzeugen. Weitere Informationen über das Projekt und viele Ergebnisse finden Sie auf der Website



Social Media as a Mirror of External Circumstances: Insights into the Perception of a Radical Group

Radicalisation processes take place in a field of tension between the actor and the outside world. External reactions and circumstances can have a supportive but also a rather negative and escalating effect on the dynamics of group development, depending on how they are ...

The Great Divide? The Online-Offline Nexus and Insights from Research on the Far-Right in Germany

The PANDORA research group gained interesting insights into the nexus of online and offline radicalization processes.
Research financed in the framework of the BMBF’s public security programme is still predominantly occupied with two issues: “online-radicalization” and “international terrorism”. The emphasis on „international terrorism“ still leads to an exclusive focus on ...

Early Warning? Opportunities and Limitations of Automated Internet Monitoring

For security authorities, automated monitoring of social media is gaining increasing importance.
Policymakers have invested considerable effort and research funding to understand the role of the Internet in radicalisation processes and attack planning. This includes approaches to identify radicalisation or “weak signals” for terrorist intentions in online behaviour. As ...

Salafist Groups’ Use of Social Media and its Implications for Prevention

To belong to a social group is attractive, esp. to young people
Researchers largely agree that radicalisation processes mostly include both real-world and virtual conditions. However, the interaction of both spheres has so far been understudied. Still, too little is known about how the two environments are mutually dependent and, ...

The Amalgamation of Virtuality and Reality in Radicalisation Processes

It is not easy to tell where offline ends and online begins
Virtuality has long since become an integral part of the world we live in today. It is thus not surprising that the virtual world is also used by those already radicalised and those who are in the midst of a radicalisation process. Accordingly, recent years have seen an increase ...

Web Scraping Social Media: Pitfalls of Copyright and Data Protection Law

Does your algorithm care for copyrights, or for data protection regulation?
The increasing popularity of web scraping methods does not come without a plethora of legal questions. In our first article, we analyzed the growing popularity of web scraping methods and how the Terms of Service of the social media platforms relate to this issue. In this ...

Web Scraping Social Media: Legitimate Research or a Breach of Contract?

A scientist sitting in front of a computer, looking at datasheets.
To make full use of the massive amounts of social media platform data for the purposes of scientific research, data is increasingly obtained using data collection methods such as web scraping. Web scraping methods make it possible to automatically access and retrieve information ...

The Visual Culture of Far-Right Terrorism

The recent wave of far-right terrorist attacks challenges academic knowledge on extremist violence and demands a new perspective. Rather than acting on behalf of political organizations, most of the perpetrators promote digital hate communities that predominantly interact via ...

What Makes Far-Right Rhetoric so Dangerous?

"Dangerous speech" can incite feelings of threat or fear
After a series of right-wing terrorist acts in Germany, the role of far-right rhetoric in inciting violence is much debated. Forms of hate speech in particular have caught a lot of attention in this debate. Drawing on the concept of dangerous speech, this article illuminates why ...