This is part two of a data science series examining the attendees of the “Unite the Right” event, scheduled to be held in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017. In part 1 we investigated which far-right groups were going to be in attendance at the event. Now we are interested in comparing how those groups’ attendance changed over time, and how many of the members of those groups co-mingle with one another.
Deciding to join the event
When did members of each group decide to join the event? Just as in our prior post, we used the Facebook public API to collect data about “Unite the Right” event attendance. We began collecting data on June 20, 2017 and ran our final data collection on August 8, 2017. We collected data about who had stated they were going to the event, as well as what other social media groups those attendees are in. We then aggregated the groups into broad types, “White Nationalists”, “Southern Nationalists”, etc. The following graph shows each group type and when its members decided to join the event.
We can see from the chart that the greatest uptick in new Southern Nationalist, White Nationalist, and Alt Right event attendees was right around the end of June. The Militia and Oath Keepers took longer to begin joining the event.
Cross-Pollination of far-Right groups
Now we turn our attention to cross-pollination of group members. Since this is a “Unite” event, we were curious how hard that unity would be to achieve. How friendly are Oath Keepers with Proud Boys? How chummy are white nationalists with Alt Righters? To answer this question we used the same group membership data described in our prior post. Below is a network graph showing how strong the co-occurrence of each group type. Thicker lines mean that the two group types share more members in common. Bigger circles mean that there are more of those in our sample. Since we have more members of some group types than others, each line is drawn as a percentage: the shared members divided by the size of whichever of the two groups is smaller.
The results show that even though White Nationalists and Oath Keepers/Militia are some of the larger groups in the study, they still share many members in common. Southern Nationalists are also in many White Nationalist groups, and also in Oath Keepers and Militia groups. Southern Nationalists do not seem to have many shared members with Proud Boys and Alt Knights, however.
Descriptions of the Categories
- Southern Nationalists: Examples of this designation include KKK, League of the South, Identity Dixie, etc.
- White Nationalists: This is a big category. Examples of this designation include National Socialists, Traditional Workers Party, National Association for the Advancement of White People (NAAWP), Aryans, American Freedom Party, AmRen, folkish/kinists/asatru, vinlanders, skinheads, Soldiers of Odin.
- Alt-Right: These groups self-describe by name as “Alt Right”
- Proud Boys & Alt-Knights: Examples of these groups include Proud Boys, Alt-Knights, Fellowship of Alt-Knights (FOAK), Based stickman enthusiast groups, etc.
- Militia, OathKeepers, 3%: These groups self-describe as OathKeepers, militias, or 3%/iii% groups
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