Linguistic analysis of pro-ISIS users on Twitter

Torregrosa, Javier and Thornburn, Joshua and Lara Cabrera, Raul and Camacho Fernandez, David and Trujillo, Humberto (2020). Linguistic analysis of pro-ISIS users on Twitter. "Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression", v. 12 (n. 3); pp. 1-15. ISSN 1943-4472.


Title: Linguistic analysis of pro-ISIS users on Twitter
  • Torregrosa, Javier
  • Thornburn, Joshua
  • Lara Cabrera, Raul
  • Camacho Fernandez, David
  • Trujillo, Humberto
Item Type: Article
Título de Revista/Publicación: Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression
Date: 2020
ISSN: 1943-4472
Volume: 12
Freetext Keywords: Twitter; Radicalization; Linguistics; ISIS; Political extremism; Jihadism
Faculty: E.T.S.I. de Sistemas Informáticos (UPM)
Department: Sistemas Informáticos
Creative Commons Licenses: Recognition - No derivative works - Non commercial

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The present study analyzed the differences in the language usage between pro-ISIS users and random users on Twitter. Based on the literature, it was expected that, when comparing the tweets from both samples, distinctive patterns would be found on their usage of similar linguistic categories. This observational study compared a dataset of 105 pro-ISIS users with 91 random Twitter users, both collected between 2015 and 2016. The Linguistic Inquiry Word Count (LIWC) software was employed to analyze the terminology used by both groups from a quantitative perspective. Relevant LIWC categories used in previous studies were included in the assessment. ISIS supporters used significantly more third person plural pronouns and less first person singular and second person pronouns. They also used more words related with death, certainty, and anger than the random group, along with more words containing six letters or more. Finally, more negative language and tone was used by the pro-ISIS group. The language used by ISIS supporters on Twitter was discussed, as well as comparisons to relevant studies on other political extremists. Ultimately, our results suggest that broad similarities in language usage exist between ISIS supporters and other extreme ideologies.

Funding Projects

Government of SpainTIN2017-85727-C4-3-PUnspecifiedUniversidad Autónoma de MadridNuevos modelos de computo bionspirado para entornos masivamente complejos
Horizon 2020ISFP-2017-AG-RADUnspecifiedUnspecifiedProjects on preventing and countering violent radicalisation

More information

Item ID: 67825
DC Identifier:
OAI Identifier:
DOI: 10.1080/19434472.2019.1651751
Official URL:
Deposited by: Memoria Investigacion
Deposited on: 01 Mar 2022 15:27
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2022 15:27
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