Informal Countermessaging: The Potential and Perils of Informal Online Countermessaging

Online countermessaging—communication that seeks to disrupt the online content disseminated by extremist groups and individuals—is a core component of contemporary counterterrorism strategies. Countermessaging has been heavily criticized, not least on the grounds of effectiveness. Whereas current debates are focused on the role of government and large organizations in developing and disseminating countermessages, this article argues that such approaches overlook the informal production of countermessages. Recognizing the appetite for “natural world” content among those engaged in countermessaging, this article highlights some of the potential benefits of informal approaches to countermessaging. At the same time, the article also acknowledges the risks that may result from closer working between countermessaging organizations and informal actors.

(From the journal abstract)


Benjamin Lee. 2018. ‘Informal Countermessaging: The Potential and Perils of Informal Online Countermessaging’. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism: 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1080/1057610X.2018.1513697.