[Online] Dealing with far-right radicalisation and disinformation
12 September at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Far-right radicalisation is often enabled through disinformation campaigns circulating distrust towards states and institutions, adding fuel to existing crises and targeting disenfranchised citizens. The evolution of social media platforms as a means to disseminate information has enhanced the influence of these campaigns. Combined with a major crisis or upheaval, this is the perfect storm, allowing certain actors to exploit fear, anger and confusion to advance their own agendas and contribute to the growth of far-right radicalisation.
Most far-right radicalisation in the West is based on the narrative of a long-dominant white population’s fear of losing their place in the middle class or losing their majority status as Europe and North America become more racially diverse. During the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the link between far-right groups and conspiracy theories became obvious. Social media is the most effective tool for spreading disinformation, planning and financing events, and recruiting and radicalising people by stoking fear and developing common ground – even if the initial contact is not directly related to far-right ideology. Radicalisation develops gradually from sympathy for right-wing ideas into more active participation. Disinformation campaigns aim at establishing a broad base of sympathisers, creating a community to justify radical ideas. Simple, causal explanations for complex issues can be employed, generalising personal experiences and often scapegoating migrants or other minorities.
Countering violent extremism goes hand in hand with discrediting disinformation. However, governments and institutions lack power over the social media conglomerates with the power to monitor information. Governments are in urgent need of new and creative ways to tackle disinformation campaigns and combat radicalisation at every stage. If they are unsuccessful, the emergence of new technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to stoke even more fear and anger.Friends of Europe email@example.com DD/MM/YYYY 15