Launching the report: New Battlegrounds – Extremist Groups’ Activity on Social Networks in Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia

Kosovar Centre for Security Studies (KCSS) today, on 30 th of November 2017, has published the report “New Battlegrounds – Extremist Groups’ Activity on Social Networks in Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia”, as a part of the project “Kosovo institutions’ additional support in fighting organized crime, corruption and violent extremism", a project implemented under the IPA’s program and is being implemented by the European Union Office in Kosovo via B&S Europe.

Invited to present the project that supports the project and its findings were:

 Mentor Vrajolli, Senior Researcher/Secretary – KCSS

 Massimiliano Prozzo, EU Office – Kosovo

 Ian McDonald, Team Leader of EU-funded Project

 Vesë Kelmendi, Researcher – KCSS

 Shpat Balaj, Researcher – KCSS

This report highlights various aspects of online propaganda used by extremist groups and their supporters in Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia. The report includes the analyses of over 150 individual profiles and over 60 closed and public groups on “Facebook”, around 5 “YouTube” channels and public chats on “Telegram Chat App.”. Based on the research KCSS categorized the online content on three categories: 1)Extremist groups that are pro-violence; 2)Propaganda material such as calls for Jihad or support for imprisoned imams and 3)Trends and attitudes towards the state institutions and society in general. KCSS has identified and analyzed the most followed and shared pages from the profiles included in the report and the content they share.

Online platforms are easily accessed and the use of them by extremist groups is an indicator that they are used as a weapon by those groups, and succeeding in the so called “Online War” is a big challenge and essential in preventing extremist groups in reaching their goals.