Opening the Floodgates of Hate
: An Investigation into Golden Dawn's Online Extremism

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis is a study of the Greek far-right party Golden Dawn and its activity on three social media platforms from 2012 to 2019: YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. This study also investigates voting behaviour to understand how Golden Dawn’s supporters responded to the party’s strategy on social media. Golden Dawn became the third most popular party in Greece during that time without receiving significant press coverage or airtime. This resulted from a nearly unanimous decision by most mainstream media to isolate Golden Dawn after its spokesperson Ilias Kasidiaris physically assaulted MP of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) Liana Kanelli during a talk show on June 07, 2012. The party had to rely on social media to appeal to wider audiences and spread its key messaging, in some cases without restrictions. This thesis argues that Golden Dawn’s key messaging took advantage of loose anti-hate speech regulations and ultimately achieved unprecedented popularity on social media. The party’s activity on YouTube remained uninterrupted but was suspended on Twitter and Facebook. Its messaging was mainly populist and ultranationalist; it openly promoted violence and engaged in hate speech. Far-right voters rallied behind the party on social media to keep up with its updates, as they believed that Golden Dawn was being censored unfairly. The topic is examined through Content Analysis, which was used to analyse 308 samples taken from Golden Dawn’s profiles from the three platforms mentioned above. Furthermore, this thesis explores how Golden Dawn voters interacted with the party on social media. This is examined through semi-structured interviews with 35 participants. All participants of this study identified as former Golden Dawn voters and discussed their reasoning for engaging with the party’s profiles on social media. Finally, the implications of the findings for adding to the existing knowledge about the online communications of the far-right in Greece and Europe are discussed extensively alongside a list of recommendations for future research on other social media and online platforms.
Date of Award2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorRussell Foster (Supervisor) & Nagore Calvo Mendizabal (Supervisor)

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