A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

Examining the Online Expression of Ideology among Far-Right Extremist Forum Users


Examining the Online Expression of Ideology among Far-Right Extremist Forum Users

Abstract: 

Over the last decade, there has been an increased focus among researchers on the role of the Internet among actors and groups across the political and ideological spectrum. There has been particular emphasis on the ways that far-right extremists utilize forums and social media to express ideological beliefs through sites affiliated with real-world extremist groups and unaffiliated websites. The majority of research has used qualitative assessments or quantitative analyses of keywords to assess the extent of specific messages. Few have considered the breadth of extremist ideologies expressed among participants so as to quantify the proportion of beliefs espoused by participants. This study addressed this gap in the literature through a content analysis of over 18,000 posts from eight far-right extremist forums operating online. The findings demonstrated that the most prevalent ideological sentiments expressed in users’ posts involved anti-minority comments, though they represent a small proportion of all posts made in the sample. Additionally, users expressed associations to far-right extremist ideologies through their usernames, signatures, and images associated with their accounts. The implications of this analysis for policy and practice to disrupt extremist movements were discussed in detail.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Holt, Thomas J., Joshua D. Freilich, and Steven M. Chermak. 2020. "Examining the Online Expression of Ideology among Far-Right Extremist Forum Users." Terrorism and Political Violence (January). https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09546553.2019.1701446

Publication URL: 
Visit Website

Additional Info

Research Area: