>> Anti-Semitic cartoons and neo-nazi propaganda. This is a private group on an encrypted messaging app set up to influence the Italian election. According to researchers at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, an NGO that advises governments and the private sector on countering extremism. It's part of a global trend of right-wing extremist collaboration to get far right or populist politicians into power.
>> Where this started they were speaking about using some of the knowledge previously gained through the other elections. So all of the conversations were also initially in English, saying we should help Italy to get Lega Nord into power by building on what we've done in the Trump campaigns.
But also in the campaigns for the AFD in Germany, and in the French campaigns.>> This matters because immigration is the key battleground in Sunday's vote.>>
> The coalition including the anti-immigrant Lega Nord alongside Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia, looks set to win the most seats in Parliament.
Tensions around immigration were shown at the start of February when an Italian man drove around the city of Macerata shooting at black migrants. He's hailed as a Roman soldier on 4chan, an online messaging board where according to ISD, these far right campaigns have been launched. 4chan users can find groups on encrypted apps where strategies are discussed.
Using these what they would call memetic warfare operations, using memes, but also using coordinated intimidation campaigns against political opponents. Trying to simultaneously operate from fake accounts, agreeing on hashtags and on specific times to push out their campaigns. And doing that in encrypted messaging applications.>> Though identities in these groups are usually anonymous, Aetna says these tactics parallel previous campaigns.
Similarities include the use of US alt-right language like redpill and normies, meaning two radicalized people with mainstream views. ISD says that right wing collaboration has had an impact on previous elections.>>
In Germany's poll last year the anti-immigrant AFD entered Parliament for the first time. In the runup, pro-AFD hashtags reached the top five trending in the country on multiple occasions.
That, ISD analysis suggests, was largely due to the coordinated action of far right activists online.