Pop stars, sports teams and Hollywood actors aren’t the only ones with global followings on Facebook. Jihadis, too, have lots of rabid fans from around the world.
Where in the West are the biggest pockets of radical Islam fandom? To find out, we picked 10 outspoken jihadis on Facebook and identified some of the groups they follow. We chose a total seven groups, covering a range of different countries, and then looked at where the people who follow those groups’ Facebook pages said they live. We also sorted the results to get rid of duplications among the people doing the liking.
As more jihadi groups use social networks to proselytize and even communicate with one another, governments and law-enforcement agencies halfway around the world are eager to know where the receptive audiences are located.
Turns out, Europe has way more jihadi fans than the U.S. does. Of the total 49,631 members in the groups we selected, 1,463 identify themselves as coming from European countries, while about 325 say they’re in the United States.
In Europe, the U.K. boasts 548 fans of the same pages—and London, with 260 fans, is far and away the most well-represented city in the data. Paris a distant second. Three of the four most well-represented cities in Europe are in the United Kingdom, with Birmingham and Manchester joining the capital on the list.
The U.S. numbers are much smaller, with New York City topping the city scales, and California taking the title for the state where most people are active on the jihadi Facebook pages we identified.