A new report has found that a white nationalist genocide theory is spreading at an alarming rate on social media, and has been mentioned over 2 million times in recent years.
The theory, called the “Great Replacement”, was the self-proclaimed motivation of the Christchurch terrorist, who killed 51 people at two Mosques in March this year – and was the title of his “manifesto”.
The report says that the “Great Replacement” has become the “ideological glue” holding together a transnational extreme-right movement. The theory uses distorted data to claim that white populations are being replaced by migration and minority groups.
According to the report, by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, online references to the conspiracy theory have doubled in the past four years.
The ISD has identified hundreds of thousands of online followers of the group Generation Identity, the main proponent of the “Great Replacement” theory. Their followers – 140,000 on YouTube and 70,000 on Twitter – are thought to be supporters of the Identitarian movement – which promotes the idea of white ethno-states.
What’s more, the extreme-right has become so effective at promoting its beliefs online that the “Great Replacement” theory has seeped into mainstream politics.
Jacob Davey, co-author of the report, says that Identitarian pages have honed their ability to produce clickable social media posts to “boost their hateful content”.
As a result, the report states that leading European politicians have explicitly referenced the “Great Replacement” theory, including Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini and the German far-right party AfD.
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