The first iteration questioned perceptions of what constitutes free speech and highlighted the prevalence of extreme and often violent views occupying the space just below the surface. The second analyses the physical and virtual sites of violence connected to Iron March as well as the ways members are drawn into, and engage with, these spaces.
Throughout August we will further develop and expand our research to the tangled paths and methods that lead many to build violent ideologies online. How are people drawn into these spaces? What makes them susceptible to radicalisation? And how does the online landscape perpetuate these cycles of hate?
This year, we have been working on a visual investigation into Iron March, a neo-Nazi and white supremacist online message board subject to an SQL database leak in November 2019. The leaked data contains the entirety of the site’s information including user names, registered emails, IP addresses of users, all of the forum’s public posts and even private messages between members. We have been using the data in the leak to examine various themes through two iterations of the project.
Far-right groups have become increasingly sophisticated in using social media to recruit and radicalise young people, predominantly young and vulnerable white men. Website forums and far-right pages on social media are breeding grounds for far-right recruiters, where they can chat with unsuspecting teenagers and confused individuals.