Ashley A. Mattheis

Atomwaffen Division and its Affiliates on Telegram: Variations, Practices, and Interconnections

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This research brief details findings from a recent collaborative project exploring different groups related to Atomwaffen Division (AWD) on Telegram. The brief provides an initial foray into understanding the digital communicative practices these AWD-related groups use to maintain their loose structure as a transnational, digitally networked extremist culture. Groups affiliated with the meta-brand of AWD are continuing to develop globally and building a transnational, digital networked culture, despite increased scrutiny. This indicates that their structure as a digitally networked, transnational culture provides resilience to traditional policy and law enforcement approaches. Addressing this threat requires insight into the practices that such groups use to interconnect their now multi-nodal, supranational organization.

This research was conducted through a secondment scheme hosted at the Cyber Threats Research Centre (CYTREC) at Swansea University. The project was supported by the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (UN CTED) and Tech Against Terrorism (TAT). The secondment aimed to create space to form a multi-stakeholder team tasked with looking at the ways terrorist groups exploit the internet and uncover how to respond in a way that respects human rights. The data used to meet this aim came from the Government of Canada-funded, TAT-created Terrorist Content Analytics Platform (TCAP).


Suggested citation: 

Mattheis, Ashley A. Atomwaffen Division and its Affiliates on Telegram: Variations, Practices, and Interconnections. Washington, D.C.: RESOLVE Network, 2022.