Search Mailing List Archives

Limit search to: Subject & Body Subject Author
Sort by: Reverse Sort
Limit to: All This Week Last Week This Month Last Month
Select Date Range     through    

[liberationtech] Why Al-Qaida Hates the Internet: Trust Problems on Jihadi Discussion Forums

Julian Oliver julian at
Tue Jan 22 10:45:14 PST 2013

I must say I find the subject of this post a little ridiculous. 

Firstly, it's good there are trust problems on jihadist discussion forums. If it
was smooth-sailing organising such efforts of violence then we should be all the
more worried. Were Western forces their attacks (say in Yemen, Somalia or
Pakistan) in discussion forums I'm sure there'd be plenty of distrust there

Secondly, al-Qaeda obviously use the WWW and the Internet a lot and so would
probably not want to take down part of what is obviously their own
communications infrastructure. As such I doubt al-Qaeda "Hate the Internet".

The Internet doesn't implement Democracy, Anarcho-syndicalism or
Totalitarianism. It does however provide a great deal of opportunity for the
implementation of these in both Western and non-Western contexts.



..on Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 10:27:42AM -0800, Yosem Companys wrote:
> Why Al-Qaida Hates the Internet: Trust Problems on Jihadi Discussion
> Forums
> *CISAC Social Science Seminar*
> January 24, 2013
> 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
> Open to the public
> No RSVP required
> Thomas Hegghammer <> -
> Zukerman Fellow at CISAC
>  The trust problem limits what rebels can do online. The scarcity of
> non-verbal cues in digital communication facilitates deceptive mimicry,
> which undermines the interpersonal trust required for sensitive
> transactions. Open-source data from jihadi discussion forums show that
> distrust there is very high and direct recruitment rare. General trust also
> declined during the observation period (2006-2011). As of 2012, forums are
> still in use, but primarily for low-stake activities such as
> propaganda-sharing and ideological debate. Confidence in the authenticity
> of propaganda remains relatively high, due to vetting institutions and
> hard-to-fake video formats. A modicum of interpersonal trust also remains,
> thanks to reputation systems and a few relatively reliable signs of
> trustworthiness involving time expenditure. The trust problem is an
> Achilles’ heel for terrorists online – but probably also for pro-democracy
> activists in authoritarian settings.
> CISAC Conference Room
> Encina Hall Central, 2nd floor
> 616 Serra St.
> Stanford University
> Stanford, CA 94305

> --
> Unsubscribe, change to digest, or change password at:

Julian Oliver

More information about the liberationtech mailing list