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COVID-19 misinformation has been resonating with right-wing extremist beliefs, transnationally. This study aimed to uncover the potential overlaps across COVID-19 misinformation and right-wing extremist beliefs, and their strengths. 500 tweets leading up to the 6th World Wide Freedom Rally (WWFR) and the Freedom Convoy protests were inductively coded for themes. Through qualitative thematic content analysis, patterns of Grievance, Conspiratorial Thinking, Anti-science, and Collective Action Frame were found. Through social network analysis, Grievance demonstrated the most and strongest overlaps with other themes, particularly Collective Action Frame. Findings suggest that Collective Action Frame served as an avenue primarily for expressing grievances, and for expressing other themes but to a lesser degree. The overlaps highlight the susceptibility of the patterns to each other’s influences, and broadly, how fluid radicalization can be. Future research should examine the impact of collective identity building in the radicalization process.
Dr. Richard Frank, School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University
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