Feeding trolls

Buzzfeed writes in the revealing article ‘Inside The Secret Facebook Group Of Quebec’s Far-Right “Wolf Pack”’ about an extreme-right group on Facebook that boasts with its 44 thousand members. However, through research, Buzzfeed found out that a large part of that number is non-existing. An interesting example how ‘trolling’ can lead to influence.

Alice Marwic and Rebecca Lewis conclude in their research ‘Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online’ that internet subcultures, like the extreme-right in Canada, “manipulate news frames, set agendas, and propagate ideas” and have ways of “attention hacking to increase visibility” (Marwic & Lewis, 1). Now, the Canadian La Meute extreme-right Facebook group is an example which coheres to the point Marwic and Lewis make. The “attention hacking” leads to more visibility, media coverages and even political influence (Patriquin, 2017).  

Even though the internet and platforms such as Facebook give room to framing, agenda setting and attention hacking, the media is not just a victim of it. Look at the Buzzfeed article, it completely debunks La Meute through some impressive investigative journalism. So, yes internet gives room to subcultures and overwhelming media attention, but there is also room for those same media to investigate and debunk trolls.

Thomas de Man

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Marwick, Alice, & Lewis, Rebecca. “Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online.” Data & Society. 15 May 2018. Web.

Patriquin, Martin. ‘Inside The Secret Facebook Group Of Quebec’s Far-Right “Wolf Pack”. Buzzfeed. 2017. Web.

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