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The metronome of apocalyptic time: Social media as carrier wave for millenarian contagion


Perspectives on TerrorismJournal abstract

The Islamic State uses social media to activate a sense of “apocalyptic time” among its supporters online. Key elements of this campaign include instilling a sense of temporal acceleration and imminent arrival of end-times scenarios, leveraging the dynamics of social contagion and remote intimacy on beliefs that have an inherently viral appeal, and providing a vehicle for supporters outside its territories to immerse themselves in a highly idealized version of its millenarian project, the so-called caliphate. The Islamic State is the first group to employ these amplifying tactics on social media at an industrial scale, but it will likely not be the last.

This article is part of a special issue on the Islamic State in the journal Perspectives on Terrorism, see the whole issue here.

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