Analyzing deviant cyber flash mobs of ISIL on twitter

Samer Al-Khateeb, Nitin Agarwal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

7 Scopus citations


Transnational crime organizations and terrorist groups such as, ISIL use social media in a highly sophisticated and coordinated manner to disseminate their propaganda. Various social media platforms, such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook,, Tumblr, etc. are used by ISIL to recruit, radicalize, and raise funds. By doing so, they have more control on their messages and more assurance that their messages (text, photo, or video) reach many people instantly. Here, we study ISIL’s social media activity (propaganda messages, recruitment messages, etc.) and model their sociotechnical behavior as a manifestation of a deviant cyber flash mob (DCFM) behavior.We operationalize our conceptual model for analyzing DCFM, demonstrate the model’s applicability to real-world setting, evaluate the research using Twitter data, and in doing so, highlight the challenges, contributions, and broader implications of the work. The findings of the research reveal a strategic choice of platforms used by ISIL’s top disseminators for propaganda dissemination. Further, the network activity of ISIL’s top disseminators reflect a well-coordinated organization with designated roles for outreach and intra-organization communications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSocial Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling, and Prediction - 8th International Conference, SBP 2015, Proceedings
EditorsKevin Xu, Nitin Agarwal, Nathaniel Osgood
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9783319162676
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event8th International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling, and Prediction, SBP 2015 - Washington, United States
Duration: Mar 31 2015Apr 3 2015

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference8th International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling, and Prediction, SBP 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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