The value of Instagram to the New Right is shown by the fact that, according to Lisa H., the IB organizes workshops focusing on its own marketing: “How do you take pictures? What should they look like? What is forbidden in terms of the overall image design, as well as concerning how people portray themselves?”
A Cologne student association called “Burschenschaft Germania” (Germania Fraternity) even gave PowerPoint presentations on the topic. “I saw two presentations. One about online presence, and another about clothing. How should I dress as a member of the Right? How can I identify other Right-Wing people who have the same style? How should I cut my hair? What should I wear as a woman?”
“The thing about the hashtags is also important, only women actually use them, it isn’t something for men at all. Their profiles are mainly private, so the girls are more responsible for the pretty pictures. But their stories are no different from those of the men, and that’s the bad thing.”
The IB actively approaches young people through Instagram and tries to persuade them to participate in local meetings, said Lisa H. “Then they see how robust the ideology is. And if what the recruiters say is sound, they are pulled in.”
The Right uses all possible promotional tools on the platform: “It’s actually best to respond to stories where something ‘amusing’ is shared.” The story feature on Instagram allows users to post pictures and videos that disappear after 24 hours. Others can respond with messages or emojis.
“Send a tank, an emoji, or something like that to start an interaction. Then you will also see that after a very short time, if it works, you will eventually slip into the ‘close friends’,” said Lisa H. With Instagram’s “Close Friends” feature, stories can be shared with just a select group users.
“And then there comes the hard shit,” said Lisa H.
On Adolf Hitler’s birthday, a young woman who follows Lisa H. shared a meme with her Close Friends list: Hitler with a cake in hand, and music playing in the background. “She actually thought that was okay with me.”