Julia Ebner is a journalist and a research fellow, working at a counter-extremism think tank that monitors the activity of radical groups right across the spectrum. You’d think that after a long day at work, she’d want to come home, put her feet up, and binge-watch ’90s sit-coms.
But, no: Ebner spends her spare time going undercover in the online world of extremists, taking on secret identities to gain access to the darkest corners of the internet that you can imagine. She shares her experiences in Going Dark, and Bloomsbury was kind enough to send me a copy for review.
The question nagging at the back of the mind of anyone who picks up a book like this is “could I become radicalised online and not even know it?”. The scary answer is: probably.
We have all felt as lonely and hard-done-by as the people that Ebner finds in groups for trad-wives, in-cels, jihadists, and white supremacists. She goes above and beyond to provide this multi-dimensional view of online extremism, but shows remarkable restraint in not sensationalising the subject matter.
Everyone should read Going Dark, if for no other reason than what you don’t know can hurt you.