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Far-Right Groups Harness Technology for Online Activism and Propaganda

TL;DR

  • Far-right groups exploit AI for propaganda, recruitment, but with limitations.
  • Shift from monologue to dialogue on social media platforms.
  • AI technology stirs concerns and moral panics among far-right extremists.

In recent years, far-right extremist groups in the United Kingdom have increasingly leveraged technology to amplify their messages, recruit followers, and further their agendas. This shift represents a move away from their early internet presence on forums and closed online spaces towards a more transnational approach, using various social media platforms and even artificial intelligence (AI) tools to propagate their ideologies. This article delves into the evolving strategies of UK far-right groups in utilizing technology and explores their discussions about AI.

From monologue to dialogue: A new era of online engagement

The UK far-right’s digital evolution began with simple websites and chat forums, but it has transformed into a dynamic, interactive dialogue with supporters and target audiences. Notably, groups like Britain First have professionalized their social media presence, luring in users with seemingly benign content related to tradition, the Royal Family, and the British military. However, beneath the surface, their posts often contain coded messages, subtly promoting nativist narratives.

More recently, live-broadcasting features on social media platforms have enabled far-right activists to monetize their activities. Figures like Tommy Robinson, a former leader of the English Defence League, have adopted guerrilla-style solo activism, broadcasting events and harassing mainstream journalists, all aimed at boosting their followership and crowdfunding efforts.

Far-right extremists embrace artificial intelligence

A new frontier in the far-right’s technological arsenal is the use of artificial intelligence. Recent reports reveal that these groups have explored AI’s potential in propaganda creation, image manipulation, and recruitment tool design. This article reports on an exploratory study of how three non-violent UK far-right groups—Patriotic Alternative, Britain First, Identity England—and Tommy Robinson discuss artificial intelligence on their Telegram channels.

While mentions of AI within these channels can be traced back to 2021, these discussions represent only a fraction of their overall content. Most far-right groups are still in the early stages of exploring AI’s potential applications.

The appraisal of generative AI among UK far-right groups is predominantly negative. There is limited serious engagement with harnessing AI for their goals. Public-facing channels and platforms mostly contain posts that deride and offer conspiratorial critiques of the technology. However, one post did encourage members to generate AI images for community-building activities.

Rather than focusing on their own use of AI, much of the discussion revolves around the intentions of mainstream actors in adopting and deploying AI. Many groups view these technologies as tools for a “replacement” agenda, one that could lead to the “elimination of humanity,” “global control,” and an “anti-human agenda.”

AI and Far-right ideology

Some posts connect AI with the far-right’s core anti-immigrant and antisemitic ideology. For instance, groups falsely allege that post-pandemic recovery funds are prioritizing illegal immigration over AI development. AI is also used to dispute facts about historical events, such as the scale of Jewish extermination at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Far-right groups allege bias in existing generative AI tools, such as Google’s Bard and OpenAI’s ChatGPT, viewing them as promoting a “liberal” agenda. They recommend alternative models that align with their nationalistic values, promoting models like RightWing, Freedom & Truth GPT, and the open-source HuggingFace platform.

Discussions around AI extend to moral panics about sexuality and gender identity. Tommy Robinson, for example, warns followers about “non-binary AI” on platforms like Snapchat. He shares screenshots of users attempting to provoke problematic discussions on gender roles and pregnancy with AI, suggesting that heteronormative conversations are in violation of content moderation policies. These discussions are used to stoke moral panics among followers and serve as recruitment opportunities.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Derrick Clinton

Derrick is a freelance writer with an interest in blockchain and cryptocurrency. He works mostly on crypto projects' problems and solutions, offering a market outlook for investments. He applies his analytical talents to theses.

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