Technological Skills of White Supremacists in an Online Forum: A Qualitative Examination

Research surrounding radicalization to and use of violence among extremist and terror groups has expanded over the last decade. There are still fundamental questions that must be addressed, particularly regarding the role of the Internet in radicalisation and recruitment as well as general technological skill within extremist groups. Few studies have considered this issue, especially among Far Right groups which have been identified as one of the top threats to public safety within the United States. This exploratory study addresses these issues using a qualitative analysis of a sample of threads from a technology-specific subforum of a widely used web forum in the white nationalist and white power movement. The findings demonstrate that the process of information sharing is distinct from that of more sophisticated deviant and criminal communities on-line, as users readily answer basic technological questions rather than discuss offensive attack techniques. The implications of this study for future research are examined in depth.

Tags: Extreme Right, Forums, Network Analysis, Qualitative, Social Media