Quantifying the influence of 4chan’s alt-right trolls on normies’ discourse
In a proceedings paper presented at a Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence social media conference, a team of British, Italian, and Cypriot academics who worked with a Telefonica researcher presented their work analyzing 8,000,000 comments from 4chan’s “politically incorrect” (AKA /pol/) boards, a hive of alt-right racism and hate. (was that last part really necessary, or were they just virtue signaling who you should hate?)
The researchers attempted to quantify the effects that /pol/’s “raids” had on the discourse in mainstream political discourse, tracing the flows of news and talking points from /pol/ to and from Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.
They found that alt-right raids were remarkably effective at steering the wider discourse, with “12% of the alternative news on worldnews (one of the main news boards on reddit) coming from 4chan. And over 16% of the alternative news on the same board is coming from The_Donald.”