The Middlebury Institute’s Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism (CTEC) has partnered with Logically, a tech company that uses artificial intelligence and human expertise to tackle misinformation and disinformation online.
The two-year grant will fund a major new cross-platform social media database aimed at helping researchers understand the roles of extremist organization, narrative creation, and disinformation in the radicalization process.
CTEC researchers will focus especially on how disinformation is used to promote “accelerationist” doctrine, which promotes the use of terroristic violence to hasten societal collapse.
“This database will provide for the first time a comprehensive look at the ways that far-right movements intentionally construct narratives for their own purposes,” said Alex Newhouse, deputy director of CTEC, who will serve as principal investigator for the project.
Senior Research Scholar Matt Kriner will assist with project management and research oversight. Kriner is one of the country’s leading experts on coalitional accelerationism, serving as managing director of the Accelerationism Research Consortium.
During phase one of the project, the team will work on data collection, processing, and database construction. The database will unify archives of social platforms, including Telegram, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Roblox, and Steam alongside data from leaks, like Epik, Oath Keepers, Iron March, Fascist Forge, and International Third Positionist Forum. In phase two, the team will conduct extensive analyses of the data to make connections among the many, varied data sources.
“This project has the potential to give us unprecedented insights into the accelerationist realm of extremism,” said Newhouse. “We’re honored to partner with Logically on this groundbreaking effort to understand the long-term development of accelerationist narratives on the Internet.”
CTEC is one of three research groups, along with The Council for Strategic and Defense Research and Project Figleaf at the University of Waterloo, to receive research grants announced by Logically.
Jason Blazakis, director of the Institute’s Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism (CTEC), commented on the continued threat posed by the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys after Jan. 6 in TIME.