Right wing extremism in 2024

Between October 2023 and February 2024, the Online Hate Prevention Institute collected over 4,000 items of hate across ten social media platforms. Three of these platforms, Gab, BitChute, and Telegram are particularly associated with the far-right. The other platforms we examined were X (Twitter), Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Reddit, LinkedIn and TikTok. We spent 16 hours collecting data on antisemitism (see report) and a further 16 hours collecting data on anti-Muslim hate (report forthcoming) on each platform.

Our data shows that of the ten platforms examined, Gab was the platform with the highest density of antisemitism and the second highest density of anti-Muslim hate. In 32 hours of monitoring on Gab we collected 550 hate posts. 78 of the items (14%) involved incitement to violence, 57 targeting Jews and 21 targeting Muslims. While the location of many users was unknown, we were able to determine the location of the poster for 54 of the posts, and 23.3% came from Australia. The Australian Gab data included six instances of incitement to violence, five against Jews and one against Muslims.

In 32 hours of monitoring on Telegram we collected 512 hate items. 73 (14%) of the items involved incitement to violence, 46 targeting Jews (12 from Australia), 30 targeting Muslims (1 from Australia), with three overlapping items targeting both. In total 154 of the items on telegram were from Australia is 71% of the data with a known location. This does not reflect the overall userbase of Telegram, but rather a focus in our data collection on examining known Australian far-right telegram channels and users. Interestingly, users from unknown locations were responsible for 57% of all the hate speech on Telegram, and this increases to 62% when looking specifically at incitement to violence. In contract, Australian users were responsible for 30% of all the hate speech, but only 18% of the incitement to violence content.

On BitChute, a video platform largely used by the far-right, our 32 hours of monitoring resulted in 410 items of hate being collected. 49 of the items (12%) involved incitement to violence, 39 of theme targeted Jews and 10 targeted Muslims. Identifying the location of users was very difficult on his platform and could only be done for 26% of the content. There were only 7 items known to be from Australia and only one involved incitement to violence (targeting Jews).

An example

In this example an Australian Gab user, identifiable through other content they have posted on Gab, writes “Jews can only be removed by force” along with emojis including swords.

The user has a profile picture using the Pepe the Frog meme that became a symbol of the Alt-Right. In this case it is a particular variant of Pepe as Chilian dictator Augusto Pinochet. This meme along with references to “Pinochet helicopter rides” became popular among the far-right. This account follows this theme exactly with the account name being “Augusto’s Helicopter Tours”, and the cover picture including both a photograph of Augusto Pinochet (the same one in Encyclopedia Brittanica) and a meme of people falling from a helicopter, titled “Helicopter Ride Blues” and created at least 6 years ago.

Returning to the post itself, it includes a picture of Harold Wallace Rosenthal who was a senior aide to a US Senator when he and three others were killed in terrorist attack in 1976 by the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine). It also includes an extract presented as an interview with him from before he was killed. The interview is a fabrication that has been exposed repeatedly by both experts in antisemitism, and by other far-right sources.

Published 18 months after his death, the interview purports to be Rosenthal disclosing a secretive Jewish plot for world control to his far-right interviewer. It is used as part of a conspiracy claiming he was killed by the secret Jewish cabal for sharing their nefarious plans. The Jerusalem Post published an article on the background and debunking of this interview in 2019, noting how it has continued to circulate since the late 1970s among antisemites both in print and more recently online.

Here is the full post:

This is another example of cumulative effect of antisemitism online as old content is continually recycled and re-mixed. The far-right invests considerable effort in archiving and resurrecting such content. It also moved internationally, as we can see this Australian user leaning in to a US based conspiracy theory. The Australian far right is connected to the far-right internationally. Ideas, narratives, and assets move in many directions. Platforms like Gab facilitate this. They also support self-radicalisation by those who fall down the rabbit hole.

Civil society work like that of the Online Hate Prevention Institute is essential to monitor social media and discover far right accounts that are not yet on the radar of law enforcement, and which may not be connected to organised far-right groups. Welcome donations from around the world to support our work, and donations by Australian tax-payers are tax deductible.