Analyzing Discourse on Extremism in the European Online Space

EUROPE, 2018


In addition to the omnipresence of social media, traditional media outlets still carry a strong weight in society. The way that the media portrays different stories can highly influence popular opinion. In the past years, there has been a rise in the conversations around extremism all throughout the European Union, which has in part led to a resurgence of the extreme right-wing fueled by xenophobic arguments and behaviours.

Our clients wanted to analyze the way that traditional media outlets were talking about terrorism, violent extremism and the extreme right-wing online. This would allow them to advise local governments on public perceptions around these topics so they would develop intelligent communication campaigns and actions in a more informed manner.

Living in the time of content generation, keeping track of all stories and the way they are being portrayed is a mighty task. So they came to AKTEK for help.


We used our media monitoring engine MEDIA to look into 5 different topics as presented by traditional outlets: extremism, counter- terrorism, radicalization, Daesh and the extreme right wing movement. We created a monitor consisting of a series of rules for each of the topics.

Over the course of 4 weeks, our Research team regularly analyzed the status of the monitors and drew conclusions based on the volume of data, top keywords being used, general sentiment distribution, peaks in discussion, etc. At the end of the project, we gathered all these insights into a report for our clients’ use.

Ultimately, we gathered more than 200,000 mentions from different media sources - showing how the European media portrays and cares about these topics. We saw that negativity still seems to shine, with content carrying a negative sentiment being overall more successful - with the help of tabloid press to push it.