Case Studies: Social Media BreakdownThesis
Most news sites these days promote themselves and increasingly operate through their social media profiles. The alt-right is not an exception to this. The following is a short breakdown of the social media accounts linked to the case studies.
Breitbart’s webite is particularly well considered and their social media accounts follow suit. Their Facebook page, almost 3.5 million followers strong, operates much the same way as most other media sites with a few notable exceptions.
From the get go, readers are greeted with the ambivolent face of Andrew Breitbart, featuring prominently in a large header together with a claim that the site gets 45 million readers a month. This is wildly inaccurate. The statistics put Breitbart closer to around 10 million, with the November 2016 spike in readership taking it temporarily up to around 25 million. Note that this is not even unique readers, it’s just measuring clicks. So Andrew’s lying throught his nose there. As usual.
The posts are an extension of the site’s headline-heavy strategy, with only brief, informal descriptions accompanying the articles.
Patriotic imagery is ubiquitous, with liberalism being put into contrast with patriotic values. The image section also makes an abundant use of memes and creates its own image macros; this is the closest the site gets to outright propaganda.
Breitbart’s Twitter account seems far less active than facebook, with most of the content being composed of links to articles on the site, accompanied with one-word descriptions.
Breitbart seems to have a Gab account as well though it does not post anything. This is presumably because they are aware of Gab’s reputation of being basically Twitter but for white supremacists. Also the number of readers is different. Make your mind up Andrew, god.
Infowars’ facebook page is uninteresting in that it isn’t much different from Breitbart or indeed any other news site facebook page. Standard issue reposting of articles and occassional pictures.
What is interesting are the comment sections under most articles, where communication consists mostly of memes.
What Infowars does have is a considerably more extensive twitter profile. Their particular brand of unhinged conspiracy theory nonsense works particularly well with twitter’s short post format and the site seems to actively engage in their saturday morning ‘big brother is watching you’ schtick.
The rest of the content is dedicated to visual propaganda and, obviously, sales pitches.
While there is no official Infowars account on Gab, Alex Jones does have an account and uses it to promote the site.
The Observer’s social media presence is unsubstantial. The underdeveloped Facebook page has just under 6000 followers and serves mostly just to repost links to the articles on the site. This may be in part due to MacDonald’s inability or unwillingness to engage with the more technological aspects of the alt-right – the webite itself is similarly rubbish. Then again, it might just be a part of the whole ‘intellectual’ thing they’re trying to get across.
The site’s official twitter page (linked to from the site) doubles as Kevin MacDonald’s personal account. This one is considerably more active, with nearly 25 thousand followers. The post range from links to articles to short rants, retweets and meme sharing.
Return of Kings
Roosh V’s social media presence is profoundly boring. Here’s pictures of his Facebook. There’s nothing on it except for links to articles and more of his rubbish. The header proudly displays Rooshes majestic beard, an epitome of masculinity that he must be so proud of. Or maybe he just lost his beard trimmer I don’t know the man’s like a raving lunatic and a sad sack at the same time and I don’t know if I should be disgusted or just feel really sorry for him because he’s ruining his life with his stupid ideology.
The twitter isn’t much better but this was the first search result I got for Return of Kings and I find that funny.
The Daily Stormer
Andrew Anglin’s blog is a bit of an outlier in it use of social media. The site does not have an associated Facebook account and the Twitter, currently named ‘Groyper by the Pussy’ seems like a joke (I’m stretching the definition of the word ‘joke’ here) account posting mostly memes (most of them of pepe) and very occasionally also revenge porn. A whole host of sub-accounts also named a different permutation of the word ‘groyper’ are retweeted, though I do not know whether these are accounts of different people or just a whole number of similar accounts that Anglin switches between.
Anglin is more active on Gab, which seems to be filling the role of his personal account. He also posts updates about the site here and, recently, calls for new editors.
Anglin also has an account on the Russian social networ VK. The content posted here is mostly site updates and links to articles. VK appears to have fairly relaxed rules about posting, since Anglin openly uses nazi imagery (possibly combined with comic book logos?)
Also he writes about a piece that was displayed at Ars Electronica and I mean this is certainly an interesting take: