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Meet intern Mauricio #gabproject

My name is Mauricio Salazar Landeros, and I’m part of the MA in New Media and Digital Culture at Utrecht University. In February, I got an internship at the Utrecht Data School as part of the Gab Project. Currently, there is limited theory from scholars on the fringe platform and even less data-driven research; this provides an opportunity to contribute to the discourse of political communication, the public sphere and alt-tech. For my project, I am focusing on the groups on Gab – a function which has seldom been analysed, if at all. While there are political and nationalistic groups which one would expect from an alt-right social network, there are also topical groups (Cooking, Dogs, Cats, Anime, Photography). This raises the question as to whether a Gab user can be non-radical within a radical platform, and whether the political discourse permeates through all spaces of the network, or is it only secluded to certain communities? By scraping the platform, we are able to analyse the group systems and gain a deeper insight into the content shared. Furthermore, text analysis provides the opportunity to recognise patterns between group categories and lead us towards determining the level of toxicity in these spaces.