From the front page of the internet to the home of free speech online: The far-right movement’s political communication on Reddit and Gab
As recent events, from the riot at the US capitol in January 2021 to an increase in the popularity of far-right ideology in politics around the world, have shown, the far-right movement is growing in strength every day. It spreads not just offline, but online; not just through political spaces, but in any way it can, and has learned to avoid detection and removal. Extremists that are part of movements such as the far-right have been pushed off of many mainstream platforms and, as a result, have created their own ‘alt-tech’ (alternate technology) platforms where they can express themselves and their ideas without fear of repercussion. As such, this thesis examines the way the far-right communicates on two specific communities, one from Reddit (as a traditional platform) and one from Gab (as an alt-tech platform). The communication of these communities is considered with relation to platform governance and affordances in order to establish if these elements affect such communication and how they do so. The research is carried out using a thematic analysis of 50 posts from each community, for a total of N=100 posts. The main communication strategies found in these posts are collected and categorised for analysis. They are combined with a functionality analysis carried out on Reddit and Gab as platforms, which details the affordances present on each platform, in order to establish what effect (if any) the affordances and governance of the two platforms have on how their users communicate far-right ideas. The findings of the research indicate that affordances and governance do, indeed, affect the communication of the two groups studied. Where the platforms have similar affordances the groups communicate similarly, and where the platforms have different affordances the groups communicate differently. Platform governance is stricter on Reddit than on Gab, and this research finds that this makes Reddit users less likely to be explicit about far-right ideas than Gab users are. The thesis therefore helps to contribute to the current academic discourse surrounding the far-right and provides suggestions for future research into the issue.
|, , , , , , , ,|
|Dr. Delia Dumitrica|
|Media, Culture & Society|
|Organisation||Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication|
Brónagh Scanlan. (2022, June 8). From the front page of the internet to the home of free speech online: The far-right movement’s political communication on Reddit and Gab. Media, Culture & Society. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/65055