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Extremist Influencers: Hyper- and Super-Posters in Extremist Forums

A small number of users post at a disproportionate rate and may therefore dominate and shape the discourse of a particular online space.

The growing concern over online extremist radicalisation has driven increased interest in the dynamics of online platforms hosting extremist content. Understanding how individuals engage in these online spaces and therefore what impact they have on participants’ beliefs and inclination to violence is crucial, as they constitute part of growing and continually evolving online ecosystems pertaining to Salafi-Jihadist, far-right, and misogynistic ideologies, which regularly underpin offline acts of violence. Recent data-driven work exploring forums, which still hold dominant positions in the extremist online landscape in spite of the rise of alt-tech social media, has looked at posting behaviour, the relationship between forums with the same ideology, the temporal evolution of sentiment and ideology, as well as the relationship between online and offline socialisation.

Results from this body of work hinted at the existence of a ‘super-posters’ phenomenon, whereby a small number of users post at a disproportionate rate and may therefore dominate and shape the discourse of a particular online space. In other words, exerting a minority ideological influence on more passive members.

Read more at the Global Network on Extremism & Technology

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