Abstract accepted to IAMCR 2017
The paper entitled “The Portuguese Far-Right on Facebook – What? Does it even exist?” was accepted to be presented in the next edition of the IAMCR that will be held in Cartagena, Colombia. Here follows the abstract:
Portugal is very often portrayed as a solid European democracy where extremist Right wing politics is almost non-existent. This particular trait is in fact used regularly both by national and international political figures in virtuosity framed discourses. Despite being a residual electoral force the Far Right nationalist movement is however very active in social networks and observing and mapping its activities can give us useful insights into the workings of an apparently dormant political force and it can also contribute to any broader cross national reading on the formation and dissemination of extremist politics via the web.
As such, we have mapped the online network on Facebook having created a clique of over 1400 pages. Data was collected between January and October 2016 using three methods: a snowball approach to include all pages with like/share linkages, the platform’s ‘suggested pages’ algorithm, and extraction via netvizz. We have subsequently performed a structural analysis testing several measures of centrality in order to understand how actors organize and behave in the network. This analysis has produced some observations which might indicate the presence of a deliberate growth strategy: the Portuguese Far Right movement actively seeks to enhance its relevance by engaging with similar European organisations (high levels of betweenness); it also builds strong links with pages relating to Portuguese History contents (monuments, past political figures, museums); it produces contents vilifying the media (accusations of censorship, boycott, bullying) whilst promoting a crusade in the name of true information; and it is commited to support campaigns to help military personnel, fire brigades, or even local teachers (‘the real Portugal’).