Viral advertising and new pathways to engagement with the British National Party

Benjamin Lee, Mark Littler


This paper identifies and analyses the use of social media by the British National Party (BNP) – a far-right party based in the UK. The analysis centres on changing forms of political participation, suggesting that the BNP, as well as other political parties both on the far-right and in the political mainstream, are using social media to provide the opportunity for casual or even accidental engagement by sharing or engaging with material over social networks. To illustrate this point, the author draws on an extensive sample of visual material posted by the BNP on the social network Facebook. Engaging with material produced by far-right groups such as the BNP potentially opens audience members up to a number of personal, professional and legal risks. The paper concludes by linking the potential for casual or accidental far-right engagement online to wider calls to support more rounded and digitally literate citizenship education.


radical right social media online activism

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