Since the advent of the internet, right-wing extremists have been exploiting online platforms to build ‘virtual communities’ among like-minded peers. Research in this area has tended to focus on extremists’ use of internet platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. Overlooked in these discussions, however, has been an exploration of the social news aggregation site: Reddit. In response to this gap, the current study explores the nature of right-wing extremism in user-submitted comments posted to r/The_Donald, a notorious subreddit community, through the lens of social movement theory. The results of the thematic analysis highlight that, on r/The_Donald, right-wing extremists use Reddit’s unique voting algorithm as a tool to mobilize like-minded members by promoting the community’s most extreme othering discourses against two prominent out-groups: Muslims and the Left. In particular, r/The_Donald’s ‘sense of community’ facilitates identity work among its members by creating an environment wherein members’ extreme views are continuously validated.
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Thesis advisor: Davies, Garth
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