Workshop Proceedings of the 18th International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media

Workshop: DeWeb 2024: 1st International Workshop on Decentralizing the Web

DOI: 10.36190/2024.44

Published: 2024-06-01
Exploring Left-Wing Extremism on the Decentralized Web: An Analysis of
Utkucan Balci, Michael Sirivianos, Jeremy Blackburn

This study investigates the presence of left-wing extremism on the instance of the decentralized social media platform Lemmy, from its launch in 2019 up to a month after the bans of the subreddits r/GenZedong and r/GenZhou. We conduct a temporal analysis on's user activity, with also measuring the degree of highly abusive or hateful content. Furthermore, we explore the content of their posts using a transformer-based topic modeling approach. Our findings reveal a substantial increase in user activity and toxicity levels following the migration of these subreddits to We also identify posts that support authoritarian regimes, endorse the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and feature anti-Zionist and antisemitic content. Overall, our findings contribute to a more nuanced understanding of political extremism within decentralized social networks and emphasize the necessity of analyzing both ends of the political spectrum in research.