A network of image boards and message forums provides an “echo chamber” for anti-Muslim sentiments, especially in the immediate aftermath of terror accounts in Europe, according to a new researchers from the anti-racist organisation Hope Not Hate, as reported in The Guardian.
The study also accuses Breitbart, run by Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon, of spreading fake news, stating that “its reporting on Islam and Muslims is largely indistinguishable from the anti-Muslim movement’s rhetoric or even that of the far right”.
Some racist and fascist online figures command massive followings on social media and integrate their hateful messages using fake news and rhetoric to influence popular opinion against minority racial, ethnic and religious groups. They seek to foster an in-group identity (often playing on themes of racial pride or nationalism) and use fear to portray others as threatening to physical or economic security and rally opposition to multiculturalism, integration and immigration. Linguist George Lakos characterizes Trump’s messages as characterizing a “strict father” who must be strong and stand up against the immorality of those who fail to fall into a white evangelical, conservative point of view.