Experts Discuss Combatting Extremism on the Web in Public Program at 9/11 Memorial Museum

Hany Farid and Vidhya Ramalingam speak onstage during a public program at the Museum auditorium.
Hany Farid and Vidhya Ramalingam discuss different responses to the threat of extremist ideology on the internet. Photo by Ann-Sophie Fjellø-Jensen, 9/11 Memorial.

Two experts in the fields of cybersecurity and terrorism studies spoke at the 9/11 Memorial Museum on Tuesday in a special public program.

Hany Farid, Dartmouth computer science professor and senior advisor to the Counter Extremism Project, and Vidhya Ramalingam, founder of Moonshot CVE, a startup specializing in countering violent extremism, discussed how technology could be harnessed to prevent ISIS and other violent extremist groups from weaponizing the internet as a means of recruitment.

In the clip below, Ramalingam addresses how targeted ads for mental health services effect audiences at risk of terrorism recruitment or acts of extremism:

“We’ve tested mental health/social health ads with audiences at risk of violent extremism and then we’ve also tested them with control groups. In every instance, whether it’s with neo-Nazis or jihadists, we find that the extremist audience is disproportionally likely to engage with those mental health/social health ads. There is in some cases, so for the jihadist audience across the U.S. for those that were searching for religious jihadist content, they were three times more likely than a control group to click on that ad when it was offered to them. So we know there is an appetite there for individuals who are engaging in hateful content to get help. To get some form of support and to talk about their feelings, their emotions, and that’s a real area that we need to exploit when we’re trying to reach people online.”

To watch the program in full, please visit

By 9/11 Memorial Staff

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