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The temporal evolution of a far-right forum

Kleinberg, B; van der Vegt, I; Gill, P; (2020) The temporal evolution of a far-right forum. Journal of Computational Social Science 10.1007/s42001-020-00064-x. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

The increased threat of right-wing extremist violence necessitates a better understanding of online extremism. Radical message boards, small-scale social media platforms, and other internet fringes have been reported to fuel hatred. The current paper examines data from the right-wing forum Stormfront between 2001 and 2015. We specifically aim to understand the development of user activity and the use of extremist language. Various time-series models depict posting frequency and the prevalence and intensity of extremist language. Individual user analyses examine whether some super users dominate the forum. The results suggest that structural break models capture the forum evolution better than stationary or linear change models. We observed an increase of forum engagement followed by a decrease towards the end of the time range. However, the proportion of extremist language on the forum increased in a step-wise matter until the early summer of 2011, followed by a decrease. This temporal development suggests that forum rhetoric did not necessarily become more extreme over time. Individual user analysis revealed that super forum users accounted for the vast majority of posts and of extremist language. These users differed from normal users in their evolution of forum engagement.

Type: Article
Title: The temporal evolution of a far-right forum
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s42001-020-00064-x
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s42001-020-00064-x
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Extremist language · Right-wing extremism · Forum data · Linguistic analysis · Online engagement
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10096336
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