Building extreme right discourses on Twitter for non-campaign periods: insights from populist leaders across Europe




populism, far right, political leaders, propaganda, Europe, Twitter


The growing success of extreme right-wing populist parties changed the political state of play in Europe, which has been widely studied by the literature. Populist parties apply a particular communication style, based on simple and non-mediated messages on social media that promote distrust in public institutions. However, the ways in which these strategies are applied for non-campaigns weeks remain little addressed by academia, as well as its development in small countries. This study examines how far-right leaders from European countries with different sizes and historical extremist backgrounds used Twitter during a non-campaign period (29 September 2020 to 28 February 2021). Specifically, we analyze the issues (issue frame), strategies (game frame), and propaganda mechanisms employed through a mixture of quantitative and qualitative approaches. The sample includes the messages posted on Twitter (n=1346) by the leaders of the main far-right parties in France (Rassemblement National), Austria (FPÖ), Germany (AfD), Spain (Vox), and Portugal (Chega!). A manual content analysis was applied, allowing comparison of countries with different traditions regarding the Extreme Right. The results show a common pattern of anti-migration messages as the main topic for their communication style, but some differences are found in terms of agenda and propaganda. The most recent parties (AfD, Vox, and Chega!) rarely use Twitter tools, which means leaving behind the interactive capacity of social media; meanwhile, the agenda is less thematic in the Austrian and Portuguese cases. Our research contributes to discussions about the communication practices of far-right populist parties in Europe, identifying trends by country as the binary opposition between the people and the elite is not expressed through the same type of propaganda.




How to Cite

Rivas-de-Roca, R., Pérez-Curiel, C., & García-Gordillo, M. (2022). Building extreme right discourses on Twitter for non-campaign periods: insights from populist leaders across Europe. Observatorio (OBS*), 16(4).