Extreme parties and populism: an analysis of Facebook and Twitter across six countries

Parties are adapting to the new digital environment in many ways; however, the precise relations between populist communication and social media are still hardly considered. This study compares populist communication strategies on Twitter and Facebook employed by a broad spectrum of left-wing, center, and right-wing political actors in six Western democracies. We conduct a semi-automated content analysis of politicians’ social media statements (N = 1400) and find that populism manifests itself in a fragmented form and is mostly used by political actors at the extremes of the political spectrum (both right-wing and left-wing), by opposition parties, and on Facebook.