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Virality and Morphogenesis of Right Wing Internet Populism

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Eva Kimminich and Julius Erdmann

Information and its individual interpretations are highly discussed in social media. Their use and misuse is an important subject for cultural and media studies. The theoretical framework of this volume is based on a synopsis of socio-constructivist and semiotic paradigms, which permit insight into ongoing adjustments of the social perception of reality and the thereby changing benchmarks. The assembled micro-studies concentrate primarily on right-wing Internet populism in Germany, France and Italy and allow a more precise idea of the effects the disseminated myths, metaphors and memes can have: Becoming viral, they can have an influence on a society’s semiosphere, i.e.on common sense and social life.

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Filter Bubbles and Echo Chambers on Online Networks

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On Medial Structures and the Diffusion of Right-Wing Argumentation

Abstract: The metaphor of Internet virality implies the idea of both technical and social networks, where content is spontaneously created and spread in a decentralized and unregulated way. However, this paper argues that this perspective hides many aspects of hierarchy and media power especially present in times of Web 2.0. Starting from the concepts of echo chambers and online filter bubbles, spreading of content becomes a feature of both social hierarchical interaction and the intertwining between user action and Facebook’s algorithm politics. In an analysis of the spreading of right-wing content from German Facebook pages and groups, the paper shows that the technological infrastructure, as well as the user interface and news feed rating algorithm of Facebook facilitate the creation of interrelated networks that are based on specific content exchange and communication structures. Whereas Facebook pages then become intersections of an ideological media network and catalysts of ideological thought and belief within individual user networks, it is the user’s individual activity of liking, sharing and commenting that maintains and promotes the creation of such networks.

Keywords: filter bubble, social networks, social media, Facebook

1Virality in Times of Digital Media

According to T. Chatfield, the virus metaphor is the perfect image to describe the diffusion of ideas, words, pictures and sounds in digital media. It represents the concept of a simple organism that is able to produce a huge amount of copies...

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