On the Front Line: A guide to countering far-right extremism

VIDHYA RAMALINGAM, MARCH 2014

From 2012 to 2014, ISD and the Swedish Ministry of Justice partnered on a pan-European project to enhance understanding of what works in preventing and countering far-right extremism in 10 countries (Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovak Republic, Sweden, the UK).

It has developed a package of resources which include the above policy report, Old Threat, New Approach: Tackling the Far Right Across Europe, as well as The FREE Initiative – Far-Right Extremism in Europe, an online resource which aims to inspire and connect those tackling the far right and showcase best practices.

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The Online Ecosystem of the German Far-Right

This report presents the findings of a research project of ISD’s Digital Analysis Unit about the alternative online-ecosystem of the far-right, including alternative social media platforms and alternative media outlets. While these platforms draw in a global audience this report focuses specifically on the German speaking and Germany-focused communities and outlets within this ecosystem. Drawing together ISD’s digital ethnographic work across dozens of forums and channels with the latest in machine learning and natural language processing, this report provides an overview over the size and nature of the far-right communities on these platforms the motivations for participating in these communities and assesses whether banning far-right groups from mainstream platforms leads to the displacement of their followers to ‘alternative’ platforms. We also analyse the role of alternative ‘news’ outlets in disseminating far right concepts, drawing on the‘Hate Observatory’, a joint initiative of ISD and the MIT Media Lab , based on their Media Cloud software, and compare the frequency and types of coverage of far-right themes in mainstream and alternative media. This report also recommends steps to be taken by tech companies, government, civil society and researchers to counter the far-right online.