What the Boogaloo Bois and ISIS Have in Common

Researchers say their early online growth was very similar.

May 20, 2021


One is a militant group that ascribes to religious fundamentalism, has been responsible for terrorist attacks, genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and shocked the world with its gruesome televised executions. 

The other is a sprawling U.S.-based movement of Hawaiian-shirt clad, AR-15-toting extremists who long for a violent uprising against the government. 

On the face of things, ISIS and the Boogaloo Bois don’t really have much in common at all. 

But researchers at George Washington University say they’ve identified one similarity between the two movements, and it has something to do with a mathematical equation. 

Patterns of early online support for the Boogaloo movement, which has been linked to several violent incidents in the U.S. in the last year, mirrored the online behavior of early supporters of ISIS, according to a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports this week. 

“We show that the early dynamics of these two online movements follow the same mathematical order despite their stark ideological, geographical, and cultural differences,” the study’s authors wrote. 

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