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Edval Zoto


The new and fast-developing Internet-based social networking environment has become particularly attractive to terrorists. Social networking sites not only provide a cheaper, better and easier way to spread terrorist content online, but also enable terrorists to address their target public directly and in real time if necessary. In the period 2012-2013 ISIL and other terrorist organizations have had an unusual success in convincing a relatively large number of Albanians, over 100 individuals from Albania and over 300 others from the neighboring Kosovo (and several hundred from other Balkan countries), to join its fighting ranks and territories in Syria and Iraq. YouTube and Facebook have been the main online platforms where terrorist narratives in Albanian were disseminated in search for potential recruits and continued radicalization. In a research conducted in 2013 (Zoto, 2015) I provided a simple method for research on social media, a contained sample and relevant data for measuring propaganda success factors of terrorist propaganda in the Albanian language on YouTube. The sample was researched again in early 2018 and new data was collected with the aim to explore and observe the YouTube-based terrorist propaganda developments over the concept of jihad in terms of content, characteristics of message providers and receptiveness by the target audience in 2018, but also the change in the patterns by comparing new data with the data collected from the 2013 research. The findings from this research are presented in this article.Furthermore, this article describes counter terrorist and counter radicalization initiatives and developments in the Albanian society in the period 2013-2018.

Keywords: Albanian, terrorism, social media, You Tube, ISIL, ISIS, Albania, Kosovo, Balkans, Syria, Iraq, Jihad, online radicalization, metrics, social network analysis.

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