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 Radicalisation and the internet

The freedom to voice political, religious or ideological beliefs is an important and healthy part of any democracy. The Australian Government respects the right of individuals to engage in free speech online, even when their messages may be extreme or unpopular.

Free expression and the internet

The internet has changed the way we communicate and interact with each other, both as individuals and as a society. The internet also plays an important role in allowing people to express their views freely on globally connected platforms.

It is not acceptable for any individual or group to use the internet to advocate the use of violence in any situation, including to further a religious, ideological or political cause.

The law and online behaviour

Social media and other internet networking sites should always be used responsibly, and should not be used to threaten, advocate or direct the use of violence. It is illegal under Australian law to use social media or the internet in a way that could be seen as intimidating, harassing or offensive. It is also illegal to use social media or the internet to make threats to kill or cause serious harm to another individual.

If you are aware of a serious threat online, report it to police by calling triple zero (000).

The Australian Government encourages members of the public to report any material found on the internet that is violent extremist in nature or could encourage radicalisation towards violence.

Report online extremist material to the National Security Hotline by visiting the Report Online Extremist Material page. You can remain anonymous.

Extremist material can include:

  • articles, images, speeches or videos that encourage hate or violence
  • statements or posts made on social media, chat rooms or blogs that encourage hate or violence
  • content encouraging people to commit acts of terrorism
  • websites created or hosted by terrorist organisations
  • terrorist training materials
  • suspicious content regarding use or sale of chemicals online
  • videos or images of terrorist attacks.

You can also report anonymously to the National Security Hotline by calling 1800 1234 00.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is responsible for investigating online material that is considered offensive or illegal. If you have seen something online that you feel is inappropriate or offensive, including material that advocates violence or a terrorist act, you can also make a report or complaint by visiting the ACMA website or the ACMA Facebook page.

You can access useful training, advice and guidance about internet safety on the ThinkUKnow Australia website.

Online radicalisation

The majority of people access the internet in a safe and lawful manner, but a small number of people may use the internet to search out or post messages, video clips, images or content of a violent extremist nature. Over time, this material can affect a small number of people in our community who may be vulnerable to becoming radicalised.

Behavioural signs may be useful to help family members, friends and members of the public to seek assistance if they are concerned somebody they know may be radicalising.

These signs may include:

  • becoming increasingly secretive about online viewing habits
  • using online social networking platforms such as Facebook or Twitter to promote violence or other criminal behaviour to advance a cause
  • downloading large amounts of violent extremist content such as:
    • online instruction and training manuals about making explosives or other methods to undertake violence
    • violent extremist literature, images and/or video clips that advocate the use of violence or other illegal behaviour to promote a cause.

If you are concerned somebody you know may be radicalising, you can find more information on the I am worried, what can I do? page.

More information on online radicalisation to violent extremism is available in the information sheet:

If you are concerned somebody you know may be radicalising, you can find more information about what you can do.