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

NCJ Number
Terrorism and Political Violence Dated: 2020
Date Published

Since few studies have considered the breadth of extremist ideologies expressed among participants so as to quantify the proportion of beliefs espoused by participants, the current study addressed this research gap by conducting a content analysis of over 18,000 posts from eight far-right extremist forums operating online.


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 use forums and social media to express ideological beliefs through sites affiliated with real-world extremist groups and unaffiliated websites. Most research has used qualitative assessments or quantitative analyses of keywords to assess the extent of specific messages. The findings of the current study demonstrated that the most prevalent ideological sentiments expressed in users’ posts involved anti-minority comments, although they represent a small proportion of all posts made in the sample. In addition, 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 are discussed in detail. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2020