Mobilizing extremism online: comparing Australian and Canadian right-wing extremist groups on Facebook

Jade Hutchinson, Amarnath Amarasingam*, Ryan Scrivens, Brian Ballsun-Stanton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Right-wing extremist groups harness popular social media platforms to accrue and mobilize followers. In recent years, researchers have examined the various themes and narratives espoused by extremist groups in the United States and Europe, and how these themes and narratives are employed to mobilize their followings on social media. Little, however, is comparatively known about how such efforts unfold within and between rightwing extremist groups in Australia and Canada. In this study, we conducted a cross-national comparative analysis of over eight years of online content found on 59 Australian and Canadian right-wing group pages on Facebook. Here we assessed the level of active and passive user engagement with posts and identified certain themes and narratives that generated the most user engagement. Overall, a number of ideological and behavioral commonalities and differences emerged in regard to patterns of active and passive user engagement, and the character of three prevailing themes: methods of violence, and references to national and racial identities. The results highlight the influence of both the national and transnational context in negotiating which themes and narratives resonate with Australian and Canadian right-wing online communities, and the multidimensional nature of right-wing user engagement and social mobilization on social media.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages31
JournalBehavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • right-wing extremism
  • Internet
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Facebook
  • Right-wing extremism

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