Nazis vs. ISIS on Twitter: A Comparative Study of White Nationalist and ISIS Online Social Media Networks
J.M. Berger (Sep 2016)
Paper’s reference in the IEEE style?
J.M. Berger, “Nazis vs. ISIS on Twitter: A Comparative Study of White Nationalist and ISIS Online Social Media Networks.” Program on Extremism at George Washington University, Sep-2016.
How did you find the paper?
Linked from an article by the author on the PBS Nova next web site
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Was the paper peer reviewed? Explain how you found out.
Does the author(s) work in a university or a government-funded research institute? If so, which university or research institute? If not, where do they work?
J.M. Berger is a fellow with George Washington University’s Program on Extremism. He is a researcher, analyst, and consultant, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and use of social media.
What does this tell you about their expertise? Are they an expert in the topic area?
What was the paper about?
This report discusses the growth in white supremacy followers on social media (more specifically twitter), and compares it to the social media use of ISIS using various metrics.
The averages were inflated by a relatively small number of accounts that follow a massive number of accounts in pursuit of users who will follow them back. The tactic is also used by trolls in an effort to avoid suspension.
Both Nazis and white nationalists had more friends than followers, a metric sometimes used as a proxy for influence given that very influential accounts tend to have more followers than friends.
White nationalist proselytizers claim to be offering the “red pill” to the un-awakened, which in this context means alerting them to the ongoing “genocide” against the “white race.” Related terminology in the network draws on the “through the looking glass” and “down the rabbit hole” themes from Alice in Wonderland, which The Matrix explicitly references. Usernames and profiles frequently referenced the White Rabbit from Alice: Whitest Rabbit, EuroRabbit, RedPill
Rabbit, and so forth. The activity itself is sometimes referred to as “redpilling.”
Importantly, key accounts in the Nazi network were also part of the Red Pill network, including five of the 10 most connected users
Within the last couple of years, significant amounts of white nationalist content on social media has been generated by members of online forums. The most popular of these are 4chan and 8chan, as well as users active on white nationalist boards hosted by Reddit, and members of the “Alt Right” movement, which is dominated by white identity politics but is somewhat distinct from historical white nationalism.
- friends v followers.
- tweet frequency
- retweet rate
- hashtag consistency
If applicable, is this paper similar to other papers you have read for this assignment? If so, which papers and why?
If applicable, is this paper different to other papers you have read for this assignment? If so, which papers and why?
What do these similarities and differences suggest? What are your observations? Do you have any new ideas? Do you have any conclusions?
This paper provides some insight and observations into the development of support for extremist groups in social media, and some suggested metrics for comparing them to other groups.
This question is to be answered after your critical analysis is completed. Which sections (if any) of your critical analysis was this paper cited in?