One of the most significant drivers of the growth of the far right is the use of digital platforms to spread extremist ideologies. Rosana Pinheiro-Machado, an expert on the far right, explains how these platforms are being used to reach new audiences and recruit members. “There’s a very active network of far-right YouTubers and Facebook pages that are pumping out content that’s giving people a very distorted view of the world,” she said. “And it’s not just information about politics or immigration; it’s also conspiracy theories and fake news.” This content is often amplified by algorithms that favor engagement over accuracy, creating a feedback loop that drives further growth of the far right. While there are many factors contributing to the rise of the far right, Pinheiro-Machado believes that the use of digital platforms is one of the most important. Could alternative models of social media counter these developments?
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Rosana Pinheiro-Machado Professor, School of Geography, University College Dublin