Maura Conway - Extremist communication

Maura Conway

Dublin City University

From The Conference August 16, 2016

”There are a lot more women becoming involved in the right wing online scene at the present time”

Maura Conway, associate professor at Dublin City University, explains the ways in which extreme right movements utilize the internet to spread their ideological philosophies and set their actions in movement, trying to achieve the aims of their agenda.

We often tend to lump different kind of extreme right groups together, even though they can look very different. One key characteristic though, that they tend to have in common, is a core that aims at making fundamental changes to democratic systems and a concept of supremacism, with certain people being superior to all other and a hostility towards immigrants. Their methods on the internet consists of coding by colors, visual expressions and linguistics. The communication by these codes are supposed to maintain the already established extreme right communities which also extend in the more general parts of the internet with the objective to gain more sympathizers.

The areas of the internet where this communication is taking place have shifted over time from websites to forums, among them big communication platforms like Reddit and 4chan. A widespread perception among the general public is that extreme groups going online is something rather new. But ever since the earliest days of mainstream usage of internet a whole range of groups have turned to it for similar purposes as extreme right movements at the present day.

Maura stresses the need to ask bigger questions in order to prevent this from expanding even further which indicates not to solely focus on the technologies themselves but also on people and behavior patterns. How significant was the internet in terms of the radicalization process of these people and what content had the most profound effect?    

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