Skip to main content

Dowling, Melissa-Ellen. “News to me: far-right news sharing on social media.” Information, Communication & Society (2023): 1-17.


News sharing on social media is ubiquitous and extends across demographics, platforms, and political ideologies. Online far-right communities are no exception, with a barrage of embedded news stories populating the social media feeds of far-right users. This has potentially profound implications for liberal democracy, especially given the propensity for far-right communities to spread disinformation via ‘fake news’. Yet, we do not know enough about how news content is embedded into far-right discourses, nor the extent to which the practice may contribute to the digital transmission of far-right ideologies. Accordingly, this paper investigates how far-right communities share news media to promulgate illiberalism on social media platforms. The paper aims to uncover the dominant discursive devices deployed to integrate news media reports into far-right discourses. To achieve this aim, this paper applies critical discourse analysis alongside conceptualisations of legitimacy and far-right ideology to an original dataset of social media posts in an Australian context. It finds that news sharing in far-right online circles may legitimise and reify far-right ideology through the juxtaposition of mainstream news media indicating the validity of far-right grievances. The paper also introduces a prototype model of news sharing legitimisation.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.