ADL Partners with Network Contagion Research Institute to Study How Hate and Extremism Spread on Social Media

New York, NY, March 12, 2019 … ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) today announced a partnership with the Network Contagion Research Institute to produce a series of reports that take an in-depth look into how extremism and hate spread on social media – and provide recommendations on how to combat both.

The Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI) deploys machine learning tools to expose hate on digital social networks within a cross-platform, public-minded and global framework. Their multidisciplinary scientists and engineers are working closely with extremism experts at ADL’s Center on Extremism (COE) to harness cutting-edge technology to track developments and provide intelligence and analysis to technology companies, law enforcement, public officials and community leaders.

Together, COE and NCRI researchers will produce several reports. The first, released today, examines the link between Twitter bans and membership on Gab, a social media platform favored by right-wing extremists, including the perpetrator of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh a few months ago.

Using cutting-edge analytical tools, the research found that Gab membership levels surge immediately after Twitter bans extremists and hateful speech, and that Gab members harbor a deep hostility towards “mainstream” social media platforms.

“This collaboration taps into ADL’s deep expertise on extremism and hate and NCRI’s cutting edge research techniques and machine learning tools to provide actionable intelligence on extremist use of social media,” said George Selim, ADL Senior Vice President, Programs. “This will greatly expand our efforts to help social media companies understand how their platforms are being used to spread hate, and what actions they can take to prevent that from happening in the future.”

ADL’s Center on Extremism fights extremism, terrorism and all forms of hate with unmatched capabilities in research, analysis, investigation, and online monitoring. Recognized as a foremost authority on extremism, the COE provides resources, expertise and training, which enables law enforcement, public officials, community leaders, and technology companies to identify and counter emerging threats.

Recent reports from the COE have looked at extremism from a variety of angles, including: