For the Global Network on Extremism and Technology (GNET), Daniël Jurg, Max Schlueter, and Marc Tuters present a study of Stephane Molyneux’s YouTube channel, offering a unique insight into the growth of online far-right radicalisation among impressionable young men.
The study sheds light on a historical moment of radicalisation on YouTube. Using close and distant reading techniques of audience engagement, the analysis provides a unique perspective on the radicalisation process that broadens the focus beyond algorithmic recommendations. Jurg, Schlueter, and Tuters find that Molyneux’s core audiences participate in a perceived ‘intellectual’ discourse that differentiates their community from the mainstream media, the emotive left, and overt racism. They discovered an almost obsessive relationship with logic, reasoning, and truth as core values among Molyneux’s most engaged audiences, who frame extreme ideas as the ‘sad truth.’