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.
This briefing paper examines the extent to which Holocaust denial content is readily accessible across Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and YouTube. This paper also demonstrates how appropriately applied content moderation policies can be effective in denying dangerous conspiracy theorists a public platform by examining how Holocaust denial content has decreased significantly in the past year on YouTube.
This document presents a vision for a pan-civil societal response to online manipulation. In part, it argues, this will come down to capability: building a pooled detection capacity to function as a transparent, public interest alternative to those built by the tech giants. In part, it will require new organisational philosophies and forms of co-operation, and in part new approaches to funding and support.
Disinformation can threaten the activities, objectives and individuals associated with civil society groups and their work. This toolkit lays out an approach that organisations can undertake to begin to track online disinformation on subjects that they care about. The process is intended to have a very low barrier to entry, with each stage achievable using either over-the-counter or free-to-use social media analysis tools.