Social Media and the Far Right

About us: Social Media and the Far Right

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Hello and welcome to all readers,

We would like to welcome you to our blog. This blog will take a deeper dive into the connection of the rise of the far-right parties in Europe and social media. We are four students from Maastricht University, Macy Morris, Julia Roig, Zoë Schneider, and Sofia Cancino Corral, in the Netherlands and are in our second year of the bachelor’s program of European Studies. Social media is a new phenomenon which politics have not been exposed to for very long. Social media has reshaped the way our society works. It has influenced the world in many ways. The effects that social media has on politics has been greatly discussed in the media, and by academics.

In the European Union today, close to 350 million people use Social Media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube): that is three in four citizens. More of us sign into a social media platform at least once a day than voted in the 2019 European elections. These figures show the incredible impact that Social Media has on our day to day lives, and how politics can therefore be affected by it, especially far right politics.

The rise of the far-right parties in Europe is undeniable. There are many different reasons for this. However, we want to consider how social media has been a part of this rise and how it may have even further enabled this. It is clear that social media has changed and shaped politics in many ways. Far right media and parties are given a platform in which they are able to express their extremist views. Far right politicians are turning dissatisfaction that ‘the people’ are feeling with their national governments into politics, spreading this rhetoric on Social Media. The rhetoric of far right politicians and parties on Social Media further includes ‘othering’ (‘evil elites’ vs. ‘the people’, immigrants), Eurosceptic sentiments and conspiracy theories (cultural marxism, great replacement etc.). The ability to use Social Media by far right parties to mobilize and interact with voters is increasingly important now that there is low voter turnout.

Why is it so important to talk about the Far right and Social Media?

Far right parties are gaining popularity all over Europe, spreading rhetoric on social media that can potentially be dangerous and group people with similar ideologies together. Furthermore, false information is being spread by far right politicians in Europe that is even labelled by Twitter as ‘misinformation‘. In order to prevent people from believing everything they see posted online by far right politicians, it is important to understand the dynamics behind the rhetoric. Why do far right politicians post these things? What do they get out of it?

In our blogposts we want to give you, the reader, new insights on the relation between the Far Right and Social Media. The history behind the use of Social Media by far right politicians, what their rhetoric consists of, why the far right politicians use social media so much and what they gain from it.

What role does Social Media play in the rise of the Far Right in Western Europe?

In order to gain a good overview, we will divide our blog into four different sections.

Zoë will take into account the history of politics before social media was introduced to give the reader a historic perspective. She will present differences and similarities from politics in the past without- and modern politics with social media. She will be looking at how political parties spread their ideas before social media.  

Julia will focus mostly on the rhetoric that far right parties use throughout the various platforms of social media. The evolution of social media has caused a change in how news are spread, as explored by Zoë and the far right now a days has evolved to match said evolution. Julia will explore how rhetoric is used now a days in social media and how the right controls the narratives.

Macy will then take into account how far right parties behave online. Compared to the far right parties, which have benefited a lot from their social media presence, the conventional parties of Europe seem to have had difficulties reaching out to voters via social media. She will explore reasons for both of these developments. 

Lastly, Sofia will analyze and apply all the topics previously touched upon by the others and apply it to the case of the fairly new Dutch far right party: Forum for Democracy (FvD) and its frontman, Thierry Baudet. What is so distinct about the ‘brand’ of the party, Baudet, and their social media campaign? And how effective is an elaborate social media campaign in terms of winning votes?

We hope our blog will be insightful and will break the complicated topic of far-right parties and social media down and make it more accessible for you. Don’t hesitate to give us some feedback in the comments. We are always grateful for your feedback and input.

About the authors:

Hi, I am Macy Morris. I am 19 years old and am currently studying European Studies at Maastricht University. I really like history and politics. In my literature review, i already focussed on social media and I want to use this blog to further understand the correlation between politics and social media. Go and check out my blog post about why the conventional parties of Europe are weaker online compared to the far-right.

Hi, my name is Sofia Cancino Corral. I am a 21 year old student at Maastricht University. I am currently in my second year of the European Studies Bachelor Programme. I am very interested in politics and especially the far right: what drives people to vote for populist parties and how do far right politicians spread their message? Through my blogpost about the usage of Social Media by the Dutch far right I got dive into this topic even further.

Hello, my name is Zoë Schneider. I am currently 22 years old and I am a European Studies student at Maastricht University. With my father working in politics, I grew up being fascinated by the constant change in dynamics. I find it interesting to see how in this modern day and age, social media influences these dynamics. If you want to read about how political parties spread their ideas before the existence of social media, or why they chose to start using social media, take a look at my blogpost.

Hello. My name is Julia. I’m 19 years old and studying European Studies at Maastricht University. This is my second year studying. I chose the subject of the far right because tends to be contrasted with the left during discussions. In particular the far right has seen a significant rise unlike the left. This blog presents how the far right has used social media for its success.

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If there are any questions or suggestions, feel free to reach out to us via social media or e-mail.

Sofia Cancino Corral:

Zoë Schneider:

Macy Morris:

Julia Roig:

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