Mapping a social media ecosystem: outlinking on Gab & Twitter amongst the Australian far-right milieu

Julian Droogan*, Lise Waldek, Brian Ballsun-Stanton, Jade Hutchinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Recent research into how far-right extremist communities create, use, and exploit online networks to promote their hateful ideology and reach distributed populations have focused on the USA and Europe. The examination of these dynamics within far-right online communities in Australia is increasing. Adding to this body of knowledge, this paper presents a data-driven examination of an Australian aligned far-right extremist network as mapped by user generated uniform resource locators (URL), or ‘links’, to internet locations. Data incorporating the links was automatically collected from far-right extremist aligned Twitter and Gab posts over three discrete one-month periods spanning 2019. Networks of links expanding out from the Twitter and Gab accounts were mapped in two ways: 1. Where the most highly engaged links connect out to (i.e., domain names), and 2. What sorts of content is found at the end of the most highly engaged links (a thematic analysis). The most highly engaged hashtags from across this time are also presented. The mapping of links illustrates the interconnectedness of a social media ecosystem consisting of multiple platforms that were identified as having different purposes and functions. Insight is provided into how far-right extremist material is disseminated across platforms, processes of mainstreaming, the transnationalism of Australian networks, and the types of thematic content shared. The importance of alternative countermedia news sites within these networks is also highlighted.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWashington
PublisherRESOLVE Network
Commissioning bodyUnited States Institute for Peace
Number of pages60
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


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