Who’s behind the keyboard?

A gender analysis of terrorism and violent extremism in the online space in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines

Numerous research shows the online space is being used by terrorist and violent extremist groups to target men and women for recruitment. However, what is not yet understood is if and how men and women are actively seeking out this material online. This report seeks to build knowledge on this question in relation to South and South East Asia. It presents new data gathered on a large scale on the sex of those attempting to access content related to terrorism and violent extremism online in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

The results show that, in total, women performed over 215,000 searches for content related to terrorism and violent extremism in these four countries over a two-month period. Overall, women performed 32 per cent of all recorded searches. Further, the analysis found that men and women are consuming gendered violent extremist and terrorist messaging via social media. For women, these themes ranged from motherhood to combat; from a freedom from secular States’ ‘restrictions’ on one’s faith to finding true love. However, the underlying message was of empowerment.

View online/download

Bibliographic information

Geographic coverage: Bangladesh; Indonesia; Malaysia; Philippines

Subject area(s): Peace and security

Resource type: Research and programme; Briefs

Publication year: 2019

Number of pages: 36