Twitter influence and cumulative perceptions of extremist support: A case study of Geert Wilders

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ECU Publications 2013

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Blanquart, Gabrielle; Cook, David M.
Security Research Institute, Edith Cowan University; SRI Security Research Institute, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia
Twitter; Extremism; New Media; Geert Wilders; Radicalisation; Anti‐immigration; Metadata; Homophily; [RSTDPub]; Homophily.; Computer Sciences; Communication Technology and New Media
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conference paper description
The advent of Social media has changed the manner in which perceptions about power and information can be influenced. Twitter is used as a fast‐paced vehicle to deliver short, succinct pieces of information, creating the perception of acceptance, popularity and authority. In the case of extremist groups, Twitter is one of several avenues to create the perception of endorsement of values that would otherwise gain less prominence through mainstream media. This study examines the use of Twitter in augmenting the status and reputation of anti‐Islam and anti‐immigration policy through the controlled release of social media information bursts. The paper demonstrates the use of new media by extremist groups using open source case study data from the associated Twitter traffic of Geert Wilders. The results indicate the pursuit of increased traction for controversial ideals that provoke and incite others towards extremism, violence, racism and Islamaphobia.