Crisis and Loss of Control: German-Language Digital Extremism in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Overview: "This report analyses the networks and narratives of German-speaking right-wing extremist, left-wing extremist and Islamist extremist actors on mainstream and alternative social media platforms and extremist websites in the context of the COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic. Our results show that extremists from Germany, Austria and Switzerland have been able to increase their reach since the introduction of the lockdown measures. However, this growth is not evenly distributed across the different ideologies and platforms. During the crisis, right-wing extremists gained more followers than left-wing extremists and Islamists. The channels of far-right conspiracy theorists grew disproportionately on alternative platforms such as Telegram, especially in the two months immediately following the introduction of the lockdown measures. The report shows that extremists interpret the COVID-19 pandemic along pre-existing ideological lines, and draw upon previous narratives and scapegoats and link these to the current crisis. Right-wing extremists use the crisis to mobilise against minorities and the government, left-wing extremists place the pandemic in an economic and anti-capitalist context, and Islamist extremists interpret the crisis primarily along religious lines."

2020 ISD
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Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD): https://www.isdglobal.org/
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