Correlations of religious-based English- and German-language extremism periphery on YouTube and implications for radicalization prevention.

Background of the KorRex project

German-language YouTube actors of a “periphery of religiously based extremism” apparently draw inspiration from English-language channels that can be similarly characterized, but choose an adapted, individualized content implementation. Formats and topics are adapted to the respective agenda of the German-speaking actors and geared to the specific composition of the German-speaking target groups as well as the German-speaking Muslim milieu in general. Accordingly, the assumed correlations between English- and German-language channels occur in very different variations and intensities.

Thus, it may well be that universal elements of shared ideologies, common training, or generally successful media strategies are implemented in each of the English- and German-speaking regions without correlations being sufficiently justifiable. However, if justifiable and temporally staggered correlations are observable, this means that it is in principle possible to identify future trends in the German-speaking world at an early stage by means of targeted monitoring of English-speaking actors and to carry out appropriately informed prevention work.

Focus and benefits of KorRex

First, KorRex created a basis for comparison between the German-language “periphery of religiously based extremism” developed in the ABAT project and the English-speaking world. If, after a qualitative and quantitative analysis using the methodology developed in ABAT, sufficiently well-founded correlations with the English-speaking world could be demonstrated, it made sense to systematically expand the analyses to include references to and influences in the English-speaking world in order to develop effective national prevention offerings in the German-speaking world. If the channels of a German-language “counterculture” draw inspiration for formats and topic setting from English-language channels, strategies for prevention, or the development of formats and topics, can be developed earlier, before the new formats even reach the German-language audience. From a technical perspective, a kind of “early warning system” for partial aspects of the German-language discourse of the extremism periphery and the online formats used would be conceivable.

The aim of the project was therefore to investigate the influences of the English-language YouTube scene on the German-language YouTube scene in order to subsequently generate findings for prevention work and the development of prevention content. If the working hypotheses of the project were confirmed, initial findings about new trends in the English-speaking world could be communicated to actors in extremism prevention and creators of prevention content in the German-speaking world at the end of the project term.

The actor level, colored according to given country codes, clearly shows: The geographical proximity can also be recognized on the Internet through the common subscribers of the channels.

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Die Akteur*innen-Ebene, eingefärbt nach angegebenen Ländercodes, zeigt deutlich: Die geographische Nähe lässt sich auch im Internet durch die gemeinsamen Abonnent*innen der Kanäle erkennen.