• How we built a tool that detects the strength of Islamophobic hate speech on Twitter

    In a landmark move, a group of MPs recently published a working definition of the term Islamophobia. They defined it as “rooted in racism,” and as “a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.” In our latest working paper, we wanted to better understand the prevalence and severity of such Islamophobic hate speech on social media. Such speech harms targeted victims, creates a sense of fear among Muslim communities, and contravenes fundamental principles of fairness. But we faced a key challenge: while extremely harmful, Islamophobic hate speech is actually quite rare.

  • Manchester, U.K. knife attacks treated as an act of terrorism

    Manchester, U.K. police said Tuesday they are treating the New Year’s Eve stabbing of three people as a terrorist incident. Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said two people suffered “very serious” injuries in the attack and remain in the hospital receiving treatment. A police sergeant who was stabbed in the shoulder has been released.

  • 2018 death toll in Syria lowest since 2011

    About 20,000 people were killed this year in Syria’s civil war — a record low in a conflict that has already claimed half a million lives. The largest death toll was 76,000 in 2014. The recent announcement of U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria has raised fears that violence could flare up again in 2019.

  • AI advancement opens health data privacy to attack

    Advances in artificial intelligence have created new threats to the privacy of health data, a new study shows. The study suggests current laws and regulations are nowhere near sufficient to keep an individual’s health status private in the face of AI development.

  • Terrorism lawsuits threaten lawful speech: 2018 in review

    One of the most important principles underpinning the Internet is that if you say something illegal, you should be held responsible for it—not the owners of the site or service where you said it. That principle has seen many threats this year—not just in federal legislation, but also in a string of civil lawsuits intended to pin liability on online platforms for allegedly providing material support to terrorists.

  • Charlie Hebdo attack suspect deported to France, charged

    A fugitive jihadist has been deported from Djibouti to France in connection with the deadly 2015 attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, French authorities said. The Paris prosecutor’s office said Peter Cherif was expelled to France after his recent arrest in Djibouti, and was immediately taken into custody and charged upon his arrival on 23 December at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport.

  • Israeli Drone Dome helps Gatwick airport to avoid shutdown

    Drone Dome, from Israeli defense company Rafael, pinpoints a suspicious drone and jams the radio frequencies used by its operator to control it, rendering the UAV unable to move. The British military had purchased the system a few months ago, and used it during the drone sightings at London’s Gatwick Airport.

  • Local chapters pressuring national Women’s March over anti-Semitism

    As the Women’s March prepares to march again on 19 January, the organization’s national leadership is under intense pressure from local branches over allegations of anti-Semitism against co-chairs Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez.

  • Documenting hate in America: What ProPublica found in 2018

    Swastikas drawn on the office of a Jewish Ivy League professor. Latinos harassed for speaking Spanish in public. Hijab-wearing women targeted in road rage incidents. Neo-Nazis bragging online about a murder. These are just some of the incidents that ProPublica and its partners have reported in their second year of Documenting Hate, a collaborative project investigating hate with more than 160 newsrooms around the country.

  • Weapons experts: Iranian nuclear archive shows that Iran lied about uranium mine

    Nuclear weapons experts, who have reviewed the Iranian nuclear archive that Israel recovered from a Tehran warehouse, concluded that Iran lied that a uranium mine was under control of its civilian atomic energy agency.

  • China exerting “sharp power” influence on American institutions

    China is penetrating American institutions in ways that are coercive and corrupt, while the United States has not fully grasped the gravity of the situation, a Hoover Institution expert says. “An ultimate ambition for global hegemony” is driving China’s multifront efforts to manipulate US state and local governments, universities, think tanks, media, corporations, and the Chinese American community, said Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at Hoover.

  • Social media efforts to combat foreign interference

    In the wake of revelations throughout 2017 that Russia had exploited social media platforms to influence the 2016 presidential election, executives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on 31 October 2017 to discuss foreign interference on their platforms. Over ten months later, on 5 September 2018, representatives from tech giants were again called to Capitol Hill to update lawmakers on their efforts in the lead-up to the midterm elections. A new report reviews and analyzes the steps taken by online information platforms to better defend against foreign interference since 2016, specifically focusing on three lines of effort: policies to address inauthentic behavior, measures to improve advertising transparency, and forward-looking investments and external partnerships.

  • The IRA and political polarization in the United States

    Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA) launched an extended attack on the United States by using computational propaganda to misinform and polarize U.S. voters. A new report from the Computational Propaganda roject at Oxford University’s Oxford Internet Institute (OII) provides the first major analysis of this attack based on data provided by social media firms to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI). The analysis answers several key questions about the activities of the known IRA accounts, and identifies which aspects of the IRA’s campaign strategy got the most traction on social media and the means of microtargeting U.S. voters with particular messages.

  • Islamic State greater draw for U.S.-born recruits than al Qaeda

    ISIS has been more successful than its predecessor organization, al Qaeda, in drawing Americans to its cause. Whereas al-Qaeda was more reliant on preexisting connections to the region or Islam, an ISIL candidate recruit is more likely to be younger, less educated, and a U.S.-born citizen.

  • Does terrorism work? We studied 90 groups to get the answer

    Do terror attacks actually work? Terrorist groups may occasionally achieve a limited goal, but when it comes to accomplishing broader strategic goals, terrorists usually fail. Terrorists can threaten modern nation-states into offering minor concessions, such as giving up a small piece of territory, forcing the resignation of a leader or promising to return to the negotiating table, but nation-states are too militarily and economically strong to be overthrown by terrorists, or to surrender their own aims that they see as vital to national security.