The Ungovernability of Digital Hate Culture

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Abstract

Social media and the Internet play an important role in the proliferation of hateful and extreme speech. Looking to contemporary networks of digitally mediated extreme right-wing communication, this essay explores the form, dynamics, and potential governance of digital hate culture. It focuses on the cultural practices and imagination present in the networks of digital hate culture to illuminate how two frames, the Red Pill and white genocide, unify the different groups that take part in these networks. After providing a high-level overview of these networks, this essay explains three formal features of digital hate culture that make it ungovernable: its swarm structure, its exploitation of inconsistencies in web governance between different actors, and its use of coded language to avoid moderation by government or private sector actors. By outlining its cultural style and ungovernable features, this essay provides policy professionals and researchers with an understanding of contemporary digital hate culture and provides suggestions for future approaches to consider when attempting to counter and disrupt the networks on which it depends.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-49
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of International Affairs
Volume71
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 19-Dec-2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • social media
  • hate speech
  • right-wing extremism
  • white nationalism
  • alt-right
  • extreme speech

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