Extremists increasingly using social media to lure women, girls into online extremism

Extremists have been increasingly using social media to approach and recruit young women and girls, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report published by the European Commission’s Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) Practitioners.

Perpetrators typically exploit their target’s vulnerabilities. For instance, they take advantage of the discrimination that young women and girls experience online and offline, their desire to belong to a sisterhood-like group, and other insecurities.

While defamatory hate speech against women and anti-feminist content has increased recently, the report’s authors explain how perpetrators target their victims with other types of content and hashtags to exploit vulnerabilities.