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Policy report

Buying and selling extremism

New funding opportunities in the right-wing extremist online ecosystem
Extremists Financial system regulation Right-wing extremism Finance Counter-terrorism

The ways online funding mechanisms can be exploited by individuals and groups promoting right-wing extremist (RWE) ideology in Australia are an emerging problem. Any response must include strong policies and programs to address the drivers of right-wing extremism. However, another strategy that Australian law enforcement, intelligence agencies, policymakers and civil society should explore involves undermining the financial incentives that can help sustain and grow RWE movements.

This response should include examining whether emerging online funding platforms have obligations under Australian laws aimed at countering terrorism financing, as well as enhancing the transparency of platform policies and enforcement actions related to fundraising activity by individuals and groups promoting RWE and other extremist content. The authorities could also explore whether the financial activities of RWE individuals in Australia may in some cases fall under legal prohibitions against the commercial exploitation of a person’s notoriety from criminal offending.

In addition, the Australian Government should create systems to better monitor hate crimes and incidents that can be used to assess linkages of crimes to extremist ideologies and groups, and to track trends to inform the formulation of policy responses related to RWE fundraising. Likewise, more research should be supported to examine the relationships between online content creation and fundraising by RWE influencers, radicalisation, mobilisation to violence, and the potential financial and social influence appeal of online funding and content-production mechanisms when disengaging people from RWE groups and movements.

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Policy Brief Report No.49/2021