Publication Date

Summer 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Justice Studies


Bryce Westlake; Grace Howard; Karen Holt


Technological advancements within the last decade have created new opportunities for social movements to meet and communicate online with like-minded individuals. Under this notion, these online communities generate an echo-chamber of information, to which certain individuals only surround themselves with people sharing similar values and opinions. As a result, online platforms (e.g., forums, blogs, websites) form as safe spaces for members to express their views seen as unacceptable offline. Research examining the role of echo-chambers in facilitating extremist rhetoric within online incel communities is limited, despite real-world acts of violence perpetrated by self-proclaimed incels. Therefore, the objective of this thesis was to address this limitation within cybercrime research. To determine over time the progression of negative sentiment present within online incel communities, this thesis performed an automated language analysis and group-based trajectory modelling of user posts from the popular online forum, This thesis found prolonged exposure to forums can impact negative sentiment relating to aggrieved entitlement and violence, mental health and suicide, and idealization of violent perpetrators. While incel ideology is not inherently dangerous, prior cases of incel-related violence highlight the importance of identifying patterns of extremist rhetoric online before it leads to offline violent outcomes.

Included in

Criminology Commons