Mapping the Dutchophone Fringe on Telegram

Tom Willaert, Nathalie Van Raemdonck, Stijn Peeters, Jasmin Seijbel

Research output: Non-textual formWeb publication/site


Building on previous research on deplatformed actors on Telegram (Rogers, 2020), this project maps and characterizes the platform’s Dutch-speaking ‘fringe’, which we generally define as the set of actors and groups with ties to Flanders or the Netherlands whose harmful discourse might resist (or be perceived to resist) the moderation efforts of mainstream social media. The focus of our investigation is thereby on a growing and diverse network of channels mined on the basis of a seed of Dutch-speaking conspiracy theorists and proponents of extreme right-wing politics. Combining digital methods and close readings, the project makes an empirical contribution to the international study of potentially harmful online discourse by 1) charting the relationships between right-wing (political) channels and conspiracy theories, 2) documenting the converging narratives that circulate in the network, including anti-progressive discourse, anti-mainstream discourse, anti-government discourse, Covid-19 policy criticism, conspiracy theories such as 'the Great Reset' and Qanon, and 3) drawing attention to appeals to (political) action and violence.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputwebsite
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2021
EventDigital Methods Summer School 2021: Fake everything: Social media's struggles with inauthentic activities - Universiteit van Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 4 Jul 202117 Jul 2021


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