Contemporary expert and practitioner literature on the causal relations between the internet and terrorism is largely divided into three groups (Conway 2016, 123). First, skeptics question causality in light of lower cyber activism in high-intensity extremist conflict zones; instead, they emphasize the primacy of real life factors over virtual ones. The second group acknowledges a lack of irrefutable data to prove causality but insists on a positive correlation between online activism and violent radicalization. From a practical standpoint, this group argues that overlooking radicalization that originates on the internet could undermine policies to legislate and manage cyberspace for the sake of public safety and security (Conway 2016, 23). A third position seeks to bridge the cyber and physical worlds in understanding radicalization (Bouchard and Levy 2015, 1-2). Internet activism is key to radicalization but has the greatest impact on individuals who are already motivated and who use cyberspace as an accelerator toward violent extremism. These authors disagree that cyber “causes” radicals to be born, mature, and evolve online. For this last group, the virtual universe is a labyrinthine media ecology in which physical and virtual environments produce complex interactions.
Dizboni, Ali and Christian Leuprecht. 2019. "Instruments and Arrangements against Online Terrorism Relating to International Cooperation." In Online Terrorist Propaganda, Recruitment, and Radicalization, ed. John R. Vacca. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. https://www.crcpress.com/Online-Terrorist-Propaganda-Recruitment-and-Radicalization/Vacca/p/book/9781138048263