“Follow Me So I Can DM You Back”: An Exploratory Analysis of a Female Pro- ISIS Twitter Network
Author(s)Varanese, Joseph A
Islamic State of Syria and Iraq
online radical milieus
Social Network Analysis
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AbstractThe purpose of this study is to explore a network of female pro-Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) supporters on Twitter. To do so, I identified twenty Twitter accounts (n=20) through snowball sampling, and analyzed their network comprising 5,861 vertices and 12,034 edges. I studied the network using three social network analysis metrics—Freeman’s normalized betweenness centrality, average geodesic distance, and tie strength. Females in the sample were more influential than males, and as a result, had a greater ability to radicalize other females within their network. Further, I observed that it took females longer than expected to send information within the network, according to the Three Degrees of Influence Theory. Finally, I found that most ties within the network were not reciprocated. In line with the Strength of Weak Ties Theory, Pro-ISIS females have a unique ability to radicalize others to support pro-jihadist terrorism on Twitter. I conclude that despite the long average geodesic distance, certain pro-ISIS females can successfully encourage other women to radicalize. Public safety officials, Twitter, and other researchers must respond to this phenomenon accordingly.