Identifying Right-Wing Extremism in German Twitter Profiles: A Classification Approach

  • Matthias Hartung
  • Roman Klinger
  • Franziska Schmidtke
  • Lars Vogel
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10260)


Social media platforms are used by an increasing number of extremist political actors for mobilization, recruiting or radicalization purposes. We propose a machine learning approach to support manual monitoring aiming at identifying right-wing extremist content in German Twitter profiles. We frame the task as profile classification, based on textual cues, traits of emotionality in language use, and linguistic patterns. A quantitative evaluation reveals a limited precision of 25% with a close-to-perfect recall of 95%. This leads to a considerable reduction of the workload of human analysts in detecting right-wing extremist users.


Extremism monitoring Classification Social media 


  1. 1.
    Amadeu-Antonio-Stiftung: Rechtsextreme und menschenverachtende Phänomene im Social Web (2016).
  2. 2.
    Ashcroft, M., Fisher, A., Kaati, L., Omer, E., Prucha, N.: Detecting jihadist messages on twitter. In: Proceedings of EISIC (2015)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Berger, J.: Nazis vs. ISIS on Twitter. A Comparative Study of White Nationalist and ISIS Online Social Media Networks. Tech. rep., Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, George Washington University, Washington, D.C. (2016)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Blanquart, G., Cook, D.: Twitter influence and cumulative perceptions of extremist support. a case study of geert wilders. In: Proceedings of ACTC (2013)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cortes, C., Vapnik, V.: Support-vector networks. Mach. Learn. 20, 273–297 (1995)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ferrara, E., Wang, W.Q., Varol, O., Flammini, A., Galstyan, A.: Predicting online extremism, content adopters, and interaction reciprocity (2016). arxiv:
  7. 7.
    Kaati, L., Omer, E., Prucha, N., Shrestha, A.: Detecting multipliers of jihadism on twitter. In: IEEE International Conference on Data Mining Workshop (ICDMW) (2015)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Manning, C.D., Raghavan, P., Schütze, H.: Introduction to Information Retrieval. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2008)CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Parmelee, J., Bichars, S.: Politics and the Twitter Revolution. Lexington Books, Landham, MD (2013)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Plutchik, R.: The nature of emotions. American Scientist (2001)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Quent, M., Salheiser, A., Schmidtke, F.: Gefährdungen der demokratischen Kultur in Thüringen (2016).
  12. 12.
    Scanlon, J.R., Gerber, M.S.: Automatic detection of cyber-recruitment by violent extremists. Secur. Inform. 3(1), 5 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Stöss, R.: Rechtsextremismus im Wandel. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Berlin (2010)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Suttles, J., Ide, N.: Distant supervision for emotion classification with discrete binary values. In: Gelbukh, A. (ed.) CICLing 2013. LNCS, vol. 7817, pp. 121–136. Springer, Heidelberg (2013). doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-37256-8_11 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ting, I.H., Chi, H.M., Wu, J.S., Wang, S.L.: An approach for hate groups detection in facebook. In: Uden, L., Wang, L., Hong, T.P., Yang, H.C., Ting, I.H. (eds.) The 3rd International Workshop on Intelligent Data Analysis and Management, pp. 101–106. Springer, Netherlands (2013). doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-7293-9_11 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Wei, Y., Singh, L., Martin, S.: Identification of extremism on twitter. In: International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining (2016)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthias Hartung
    • 1
    • 2
  • Roman Klinger
    • 2
    • 3
  • Franziska Schmidtke
    • 4
  • Lars Vogel
    • 4
  1. 1.Semantic Computing Group, CITECBielefeld UniversityBielefeldGermany
  2. 2.Semalytix GmbHBielefeldGermany
  3. 3.Institut für Maschinelle SprachverarbeitungUniversity of StuttgartStuttgartGermany
  4. 4.Kompetenzzentrum RechtsextremismusFriedrich-Schiller-Universität JenaJenaGermany

Personalised recommendations