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Novel and emerging harms

The digital threat landscape is constantly changing. Adversarial threat actors are always developing new and increasingly sophisticated ways to target vulnerable social, ethnic and religious groups online.

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The digital harms race

Complex adversarial threat actors have long used social media platforms to target vulnerable groups and individuals. But as platforms’ awareness and resilience have grown, so too have threat actors’ ability to overcome measures taken to curtail their harmful activities.

New behaviours proliferate as digital technology develops. Today’s behaviours include doxxing, coordinated harassment, mass reporting, griefing, swatting, raiding, and crashing – all of which can, and do, lead to real-world harm.

Complex adversarial threat actors have a sophisticated and nuanced appreciation of platform policy red lines, enforcement gaps, undetected vulnerabilities, and exploits – allowing them to evade detection, reinvent themselves, and remain a threat to vulnerable groups online.

Proactive threat detection

We work closely with Trust and Safety teams to proactively identify, analyse and disrupt complex new harms as they emerge in real-time. We don’t wait to react – we are constantly scanning the horizon, building an accurate, detailed picture of the emerging threat landscape. Our unique approach of tech-enabled human-led analysis further enables us to detect these novel harms at scale.

We reject a one-size-fits-all approach. Our team of diverse subject matter experts understands that the social impact of a doxxing campaign in Ethiopia is likely to be different compared to Spain. We carefully consider where new behaviours are emerging, and who is on the receiving end.

Map and assess

The constantly evolving nature of novel harms requires proactive mapping, assessment and contexualisation, enabling decision-makers to manage risks.

Identify and disrupt

We identify upstream coordination spaces to disrupt threats at source – before they have a chance to manifest on platforms.

Advise and research

We advise on policy enforcement gaps, and actively research new opportunities for adversarial actors to exploit nascent platform features. This helps platforms or regulators maintain a proactive defence against novel threats.

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Emerging harms thought-leadership

We are a pioneering global leader in the novel harms field, combining world-leading knowledge of emerging threat behaviours with specialist understanding of local political contexts. We have investigated novel and emerging threats in more than 80 countries across six continents.

Whether we are assessing state surveillance of human rights activists, military brigading of political opposition groups, or extremist doxxing of citizens based on their gender or sexuality, our team brings unrivalled expertise to tracking and analysing emerging harms across the digital ecosystem.


Partnering with you to ensure information integrity

Find out how we can help you understand and protect your information environment.

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