What is the role of social media in disinformation and radicalization far right-wing extremist groups?
6 mins read

What is the role of social media in disinformation and radicalization far right-wing extremist groups?

To understand the radicalization of far right-wing extremist groups in the United States, we must know the negative effect that disinformation, baseless lies and conspiratorial theories have on a part of the white population that is susceptible to this type of brainwashing by the programming of some media.

If you analyze the content in the national news channels, but also those opinion programs, especially in the conservative media, who amplify these lies and why we should not also talk about the enormous influence of social media such as Facebook, and Twitter as a mechanism of propaganda associated with the groups of the most radical right wing of the Republican party.

Considering the role that social media played to propel Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States and their complicity with these digital media when they allowed without moderation or to check the veracity of the news, the dissemination of false information, the promotion of conspiracy theories and all in order not to bother far-right activists, especially Donald Trump, no one can deny that social media executives have some responsibility for the political crisis that is happening right now.

Something that we must understand, social media are not the only ones responsible for the radicalization of extremist groups in American, those responsible are those politicians and activists who created the division in the first place through misinformation. One thing is a means of communication and another is how these means of communication are used for subversive ends.

“Social media was only used as a vehicle to promote, radicalize and deepen the division of the American people by increasing the presence of hate groups by providing a platform to promote these hate speeches”.

Is Twitter and Facebook responsible for the radicalization of extreme right groups that are susceptible to misinformation? This is where, for some reason or another, these platforms were allowed to be used as a tool to promote propaganda by conservative political sectors and activists of the extreme right that took advantage of the negligence of this social media that allowed the promotion of disinformation, lies and conspirator theories  to users without taking serious steps to moderate or stop it.

Whether for political conviction or economic gain, the complicity of high tech corporation executives such as Facebook, Snapchat, Spotify, Twitch, Shopify, Stripe, Reddit, TikTok, and YouTube for the lack of control of the enormous amount of misinformation and propaganda that allowed on their platforms for fear of limiting the freedom of speech of radicalized far-right pro-Trump supporters.

 In the face of the insurgency and attack on Capital Hill, the inappropriate use of social media is one of the reasons for the political problems facing the American nation right now in the face of the danger posed by radicalized far-right groups.

Would the insurgency or the attack on Capital Hill have been possible without the use of social media as a communication and planning tool? Possibly not. But we must not stop blaming the President of the Republic Donald Trump who incited the mobs that attacked Congress and the far-right groups that participated in this undemocratic act.

No one doubts that the main responsible for misinformation on social media are conservative republican political leaders sympathetic to far-right activists, especially the president of the republic who used social media as a mechanism to promote pro-Nazi ideology, pro white supremacy , anti-immigrant and anti-democratic behavior which are creating unrest, uncertainty and fear in the American people due to the subversive activities of these radicalized right-wing groups.

Why don’t we also talk about the calls for violence against African American, Hispanic and Muslim minority groups using social media by Trump? It is clear that the executives who own this high tech social media did not provide an immediate solution to this type of problem that promotes fake news, promotes misinformation and manipulation of the news to a white American people susceptible to consuming this type of false narrative, especially when it comes to far right-wing extremists groups.

Is there something fundamentally broken in social media that has allowed to reach this violent thoughts? From my point of view, the elimination of the platforms that up to now have supported Trump’s lies and misinformation will not diminish the negative effects of these deeper pathological problems in conservative sectors that promote movements of hatred in american. Trumpism ideology which is part of the mindset of far-right pro-Trump supporters in America right now.

In the face of the Capital Hill attack, many platforms are swiftly deleting the Donald Trump account or accounts affiliated with pro-Trump conspiracies and violence, and QAnon supporters. Perhaps it is too late that all platforms have decided to ban or restrict Trump, but the damage to democracy has already been done.

 Another platform sympathizing with the Republican far-right such as Parler, a social media platform sold for lack of moderation, was removed from Google’s app stores, and Amazon also rejected the service. But will the access to these social networks be enough to stop the insurgency activities of these extreme right-wing extremist groups? I believe that it is not possible, as long as no answers are found to the problems behind these movements motivated by hatred.

Apart from the role of social media, you should also consider the manipulation of information from the conservative media who amplified the lies of Donald Trump, but above all the promotion of anti-democratic, racist, and extreme right-wing anti-immigrant ideas in multiple online radio and television platform which created the conditions for the radicalization of some conservative far-right groups with extremist attitudes.

Are social media like Facebook, Snapchat, Spotify, Twitch, Stripe, Reddit, TikTok, and YouTube responsible for radicalizing a part of the white population? From my point of view they have certain responsibilities, but the greatest responsibility lies in the failure of federal and state institutions to recognize the danger posed by those radicalized individuals of the far right wing extremists, considered by experts as domestic terrorists.

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