Canadians are among the most active in online right-wing extremism, study finds

U.K.-based study finds over 6,600 right-wing extremist social media channels, accounts linked to Canada

Researchers claim to have found over 6,600 right-wing extremist social media pages and accounts linked to Canadians.

The study, from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, received funding from Public Safety Canada and is meant as an interim report and part of a broader look into extremist action online.

It claims those 6,600 pages and accounts have reached more than 11 million users globally.

The authors noted that not all the online chatter is illegal, much of it is covered by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but they called it ‘problematic.’

Researchers at the U.K.-based ISD examined thousands of accounts across seven different social media platforms to examine how right-wing extremists in Canada recruit new members online.

The study identified five ideological subgroups of right-wing extremists: white supremacists, ethnonationalists, anti-Muslim groups, sovereigntists and militia groups, and the ‘manosphere’.

Map shows Twitter users who had sent a right-wing extremist message in 2019, according to study
Map shows Twitter users who had sent a right-wing extremist message in 2019, according to study

The study found the most highly prolific extremist users to be on Twitter and that those users were more likely to be engaged in anti-Muslim conversation.

Muslims were the most common target of posts containing explicit hate speech on Facebook.

The study examined a network of over 6,300 Twitter accounts, 130 public Facebook pages and groups, 32 YouTube channels and 42 Gab accounts.

Violence associated with right-wing extremism has increased by over 320 percent over the past five years, according to the study.

“Acts of terrorism committed by the far-right have increased by 320% over the past five years, supported by an increasingly connected and internationalist community of right-wing extremism. Canada has not been isolated from this trend and in recent years the number of hate groups operating in the country has tripled,” the report said.

You can read the full report here.