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Migration and Home Affairs

RAN Webinar on Lone Actors in digital environments in violent extremism and terrorism, 14 June 2021

This webinar will be held in English and will take place via WebEx.

We are pleased to invite you to attend the RAN webinar on “Lone Actors in digital environments in violent extremism and terrorism”, which takes place on 14 June 2021 from 16.00 – 17.30 CEST.

Background and aim of this webinar

With terrorist attacks committed by “lone actors” having risen in both numbers and severity in recent years, the concept of ‘lone actor terrorism’ has become all the more familiar in recent years.

Yet, the idea of ”lone actors” sometimes confuses actual “lone” actors with individuals who might act alone (on an operational level) but are or feel like they are part of a specific group or movement. Generally put, particularly in the digital age, so-called lone actors mostly feel neither lonely nor alone.

Recent attacks by “lone actors” that were inspired by violent-right wing extremist ideologies such as the Halle or Christchurch attacks as well as attacks by Islamist-inspired lone actors in Nizza (2016), Orlando (2016) or Paris (2020) have revealed new challenges and knowledge gaps, especially regarding the relevance of the online dimension.

Despite the differences, what many of these cases have in common is that the would-be-terrorists were not identified as threats neither by security authorities nor social media platforms.

This webinar aims to provide its participants with a deeper understanding of the role of digital environments for extremist or terrorist “lone actors”. In doing so, this webinar will provide an opportunity to explore the following key questions with on-topic experts on the digital dimension of ‘lone actor terrorism’:

  • What do we know about perpetrators’ digital profiles before they act, and how do we monitor “digital lone actors” who are actively engaged in disseminating or connected to terrorist or violent extremist activities?
  • How do lone actors connect with peers or violent extremist groups or movements in digital space? How do the differences relate to Islamist extremism and violent right-wing extremism?
  • How can P/CVE practitioners, online platforms (gaming and video), social media companies and messenger services improve joint efforts to identify, address and prevent lone actor violent extremism in digital environments?

The webinar will feature expert input by Alexander Ritzmann (Counter Extremism Project), followed by presentations by Lisa Kaati (Swedish Defense Research Agency). The discussions will also feature findings and outcomes from recent RAN events and publications on lone actor terrorism.

The target audience: practitioners and researchers working in the area of prevention and intervention of violent extremism in the digital space, including sociologists, psychologists, communication experts, social and youth workers as well as law enforcement professionals and representatives from social media companies, video sharing platforms, messenger services and video game platforms.

How to register for this webinar?

  • If you wish to attend this webinar, register via this link. This link will redirect you to a page on which you will find a button ‘register’. Please click on this link and sign up with the email address with which you will attend the webinar.
  • Shortly afterwards, you will receive a registration link in your email by WebEx which will lead you to the webinar environment. If you do not receive an email, please check your spam box. Since this is a webinar, you do not need to respond to this email.

If you have any questions or remarks, please contact Nico Schernbeck or Fabian Müller.