Role of Online Communities in the Expansion of Far-Right Extremism, published by European Eye on Radicalization, discusses the growing influx of far-right extremist groups utilizing online platforms to spread disinformation and extremist ideologies. This abuse of social media results in real-life consequences, which, according to the author, includes lone-actor terrorism and copy-cats. Social media platforms have certain standard mechanisms in place to detect inappropriate posts of images and key words. Unfortunately, many extremist groups have created strategies to avoid this censorship, and escape the moderation mechanisms in place. Extremist groups are able to recruit new members through the use of code words and hidden messages in memes that appear humorous on the surface. This is especially dangerous when these posts are shared by those who do not understand these hidden messages. The purpose of this report is to spread awareness of the dangers of social media abuse by extremist groups.
For more information, check out HSDL’s In Focus topic on Disinformation.