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DRI’s report on far-right groups in social media

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Thursday, June 25
In the final report, the Democracy Research Institute summarized the results of 11-month long monitoring of far-right groups’ discourse on social platforms and online media. During the monitoring process DRI media researcher studied and analyzed 20 235 posts on 12 far-right group leaders’ and 15 far-right groups’ Facebook pages, as well as 2 317 articles by 9 online media platforms’ webpages.

The narrative of far-right leaders and groups was divided into 5 categories according to the main characteristics: xenophobic, homophobic, anti-liberal, anti-western, and nationalistic, DRI reports. Analysis of interactions with the posts revealed that nationalistic and anti-liberal discourse were especially popular. Nationalistic discourse is particularly characteristic for the following Facebook pages: ‘Turkey is an Occupier’, ‘Silenced Georgians’ and ‘Kardhu’, while anti-liberal discourse was characteristic for ‘Anti-Liberal League’, ‘Alt-Club’ and ’Geo Pepe.’

Media monitoring revealed that far-right rhetoric of online platforms comes in two ways: openly pro-Russian (Sakinform, Georgia and the World, Sputnik Georgia, News front Georgia) and aggressively anti-liberal (Politicano, Alt-Info, Zneoba). Far-right groups and leaders use online platforms to 1) stir up anti-liberal sentiments among Georgian citizens; 2) portray Russia as a counterweight for ‘depraved west’.

Social platforms are one of the main tools for far-right groups’ to attract followers and spread their messages. DRI writes that media monitoring revealed 3 main characteristics of Georgian far-right rhetoric: 1) arousing anti-western sentiments among the Georgian population and, thus, discrediting western institutions; 2) supporting Kremlin politics and spreading pro-Russian messages; 3) spreading irrational fears and hatred throughout society using false information and manipulation.

The key findings revealed during the monitoring, include: Far-right groups active in Georgia are tightly connected with each other through the action plans or strategy development processes; Such groups are attempting to demonize the U.S.A. and send anti-liberal messages; The far-right discourse on social platforms and online media is characterized, on the one hand, by ethnonationalism and, on the other hand, by distinctly pro-Russian messages; Local and international non-governmental organizations are actively demonized; George Soros is presented as the main instigator of depravity;

Study finds that the most popular targets for far-right aggression are: feminists, immigrants, LGBT+ community, muslims, and liberals. The most popular guests in online media outlets are those politicians and leaders, who are creating the far-right agenda in Georgia.

As the organization reports, the monitoring was possible with the financial support of the Embassy of the Netherlands in the framework of the project “Understanding and Combating Far-Right Extremism and Ultranationalism in Georgia.”