A Witch’s Brew of Grievances: The Potential Effects of COVID-19 on Radicalization to Violent Extremism

Figure 2. Aggregate Posts – Stormfront – 1 January to 21 April 2020

Historically, pandemics had inevitably produced demonization and scapegoating, and the COVID-19 pandemic has been no exception. Some individuals and groups have attempted to weaponize and exploit the pandemic, to use it as a means of spreading their extremist ideologies and to radicalize others to their causes. Segmented regression analyses of seven online extremist forums revealed that posting behavior on violent right-wing extremist and incel forums increased significantly following the declaration of the pandemic. The same was not true of left-wing or jihadist forums. These unequal effects likely reflect the particular grievance-based and online nature of right-wing and incel extremism.


Garth Davies, Edith Wu, Richard Frank


Studies in Conflict & Terrorism. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, DOI: 10.1080/1057610X.2021.1923188

April 2021