Harnessing the Power of AI to Study Extreme Identities

Hosted in three of the most dynamic hubs for research on extremist communications (Trinity College Dublin, University of Copenhagen, University of Exeter), our NORFACE-funded project seeks to shed light on the communication of the online far-right ecosystem.

Photo: Reuters/Stefano Rellandini

About the Project

Over the past years, policy-makers and intelligence professionals have witness a dramatic multiplication of websites promoting extreme-right wing ideas and grassroots organizations. This growth of this “far-right online ecosystem” has been so fast that academics and practitioners have struggled to keep track of its development.

The NORFACE-funded Extreme Identities: A Linguistic and Visual Analysis of European Far-Right Online Communities' Politics of Identity (“ExID”) project harnesses cutting-edge computational tools combined with in-depth qualitative work to conduct two main tasks:

  1. We map the entire ecosystem, identifying its (thousands of) websites, uncovering how they connect to each other, and measuring their respective importance. This allows to answer a series of crucial questions about the size of the far-right internet, its popularity, its structure, etc.

  2. We scrape the linguistic and visual content of these websites in order to analyse how the many far-right online communities, through their choices of language and visual imagery, make some socio-political issues salient and construct particular collective identities (both of themselves and their ‘enemies’).

The ExID project combines the research experience of its members from three institutions (Trinity College Dublin, University of Cophenhagen, and the University of Exter) along with its expertise with UK and foreign government units in tackline online extremism and preventing terrorism.

Meet the ExID Team

Principal Investigators

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Stephane Baele

Senior Lecturer in International Relations

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Constantine Boussalis

Assistant Professor of Political Science

Researchers

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Lewys Brace

Lecturer in Data Analysis

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Travis G. Coan

Senior Lecturer in Quantitative Politics

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Callum Craig

PhD Student

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Beth G. Gardner

Postdoctoral Research Associate

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Aaron Rudkin

PhD Candidate

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Elahe Naserianhanzaei

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

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