Challenges and opportunities of social media research: using Twitter and Facebook to investigate far right discourses

Jasper Muis*, Ofra Klein, G Dijkstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

Abstract

Digital footprints from social media enable us to study the far right in novel ways. In contrast to traditional methods such as interviewing, the examination of online discourse is non-reactive: the data are ‘given’ and as such not influenced by researchers. Social media thus allow us to unobtrusively get an insight into real-life everyday discussions among far right supporters. Social media also provide far right leaders the opportunity to circumvent traditional news channels, making their voices heard without interference from gatekeepers and journalists. This chapter reviews the methodological opportunities and challenges of using social media as a source of data. We focus on online discourses of the far right on Twitter and Facebook. To put flesh to the bones, we apply our review to two concrete research questions. First, to what extent are there differences between and within far right parties and movements in the outgroups that their followers discuss? Second, to what extent do far right leaders moderate their ideological outlook once they become member of a government?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearching the far right: theory, method and practice
EditorsStephen Ashe, Joel Busher, Graham Macklin
PublisherRoutledge
Pages147-163
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

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