Assessing the Extent and Types of Hate Speech in Fringe Communities: A Case Study of Alt-Right Communities on 8chan, 4chan, and Reddit

Recent right-wing extremist terrorists were active in online fringe communities connected to the alt-right movement. Although these are commonly considered as distinctly hateful, racist, and misogynistic, the prevalence of hate speech in these communities has not been comprehensively investigated yet, particularly regarding more implicit and covert forms of hate. This study exploratively investigates the extent, nature, and clusters of different forms of hate speech in political fringe communities on Reddit, 4chan, and 8chan. To do so, a manual quantitative content analysis of user comments (N=6,000) was combined with an automated topic modeling approach. The findings of the study not only show that hate is prevalent in all three communities (24% of comments contained explicit or implicit hate speech), but also provide insights into common types of hate speech expression, targets, and differences between the studied communities.

Tags: 4chan, 8chan, alt-right, Content Analysis, fringe communities, Hate Speech, Reddit, topic modeling