Research shows that early online support for Boogaloo Boys follows a similar ISIS model

A new study from Toronto-George Washington University shows that although Boogaloos (also known as Boogaloo Boys or “Bois”), an extremist who received online support in the early stages, has a mathematically similar pattern to that of the Islamic State. Ideology, location and culture.

Boogaloos, Participated in one of the groups that launched the attack on the U.S. Capitol in January 2021, Is a loose pro-gun rights movement that hopes to have a second civil war in the United States, and is often aligned with far-right and white nationalist movements.

the study, Published in “Science Reports” last week, Compared the growth of the Boogaloo movement (mainly in the United States) with online support for ISIS (a terrorist organization mainly in the Middle East).

The study emphasizes that the purpose of the study is not to provide “philosophical, psychological, economic, or sociopolitical analysis of this type of movement”, but to find an explanation for its online growth by “comparing aggregated mathematical models with empirical data” . “

The study believes: “Despite differences, extremist movements may share common system-level dynamics. Researchers are paying attention to the possible sharing mechanisms of their online growth process to identify any common mechanical patterns that may arise and seek a better understanding The generation and development of online violence.”

Researchers collect data from public social media platforms such as Facebook and VKontakte, use Boogaloos and ISIS tags and keywords to search for posts from support groups, and map content networks from fundraising to real-time operational information.

After analyzing the online support of the two groups, the study found that the evolution of the two movements follows the “single shock wave mathematical equation.”

The researchers compared their shock wave equation with a single equation in physics, in which they entered the aggregation probability and pool size equivalents for potential recruits, and explained the different trajectories of different objects.

Study author Neil Johnson said: “This study helps to better understand the emergence of extremist movements in the United States and the world.” In the press release. “By identifying common patterns hidden in seemingly unrelated movements, coupled with a rigorous mathematical description of how they develop, our findings can help social media platforms disrupt the growth of such extremist groups.”

Specifically, the study claims that mathematical theory suggests that social media platforms can alleviate the growth of new forms of online extremism by downplaying the “collective chemistry” of online movement.

The study’s co-author Yonatan Lupu said in a press release: “A key aspect that we identified is how these extremist groups assemble and combine into a community. This is what we call “collective chemistry”. “The nature of’.” “Although these groups have differences in sociology and ideology, they have similar collective chemistry as far as the growth of the community is concerned. This knowledge determines how to slow them down, or even prevent them from forming in the first place. key.”

The research shows that specific policies are needed to limit the growth and support of extremist movements.

According to the study, social media platforms have been trying to control the development of online extremism because they often use a combination of content moderation and active promotion of users who provide counter-information.

The researchers pointed out the limitations of these two methods and suggested that new strategies are needed to combat online extremism, such as modifying algorithms that suggest content to social media users, but they may also be recruiting potential extremists.

The study said: “The platform is already using algorithms to provide users with suggestions to join groups, including extremist groups, as long as the platform’s algorithm predicts that users will be interested in these groups.”

Researchers warn that online sports can show “very rapid growth and adaptation”, while current strategies (including content review and sometimes complete platformization of groups) have the disadvantage of “high visibility” and can sometimes “irritate and irritate.” extremist”.

The study also says that extremists can avoid efforts to stop online extremism when they transfer their support and members to unconstrained platforms. Therefore, social media platforms should focus on disrupting their “collective chemistry” or ” Smooth the curve” to solve this problem. They are assembled into communities.

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