Sociology Publications

Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

2015

Journal

terrorism, research, online, Islamic State, deception

Abstract

This paper explores the problem of deception in online terrorism research. While conducting research into the growing phenomenon of female migration to Islamic State-held territory by Western females, we began following a Twitter account exhibiting suspicious activity. The account owner – believed to be a Canadian teenage female – indicated interest in learning more about joining the IS. We tracked this account for three weeks in order to discover more information about its activities and thus to develop a set of key indicators that might help predict future migration risk. We subsequently learned it was a fake account (‘sock puppet’) established to fool IS recruiters. The operation of such ruses and the problems they create is discussed here.


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