Inciting anger through Facebook reactions in Belgium: The use of emoji and related vernacular expressions in racist discourse

Ariadna Matamoros-Fernández


This article uses the concept of ‘platformed racism‘ to explore the tension between how platforms afford and govern emoji, and how users appropriate them to engage in racist discourse. The paper takes the example of Belgian far-right political party Vlaams Belang’s use of Facebook Reactions to spread anger, and how audiences responded to this call by posting more emoji to express rage and engage in long-running racist tropes. Emoji are central elements of social media and its practices, and represent an opportunity to investigate the material politics of platforms and to explore their role in racist discourse.

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