No Lone Shooter: How Anti-Semitism Is Winning New Converts on the Internet

The internet is a fertile breeding ground for conspiracy theorists conspiracy theories have been at the core of anti-Semitism. Exactly how this genre is evolving was the subject of an event held last week at the Computer Science Museum in Mountain View by UC Santa Cruz’s Data and Democracy initiative.

“Anti-Semitism is one of the oldest hatreds in the world,” said Rachel Deblinger, co-director of the Digital Jewish Studies Initiative and director of the Digital Scholarship Commons at UC Santa Cruz. “The internet provides the tools of creation and dissemination to everyone.”

Read the KQED article here

WESA: Alleged Pittsburgh And Christchurch Shooters Had Similar Online Activity, Report Finds

A new report from the Anti-Defamation League shows similarities in the online activity of the men accused of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and the Christchurch, New Zealand mosque shooting. Both men frequently posted about “white genocide” on fringe websites, and announced their intentions to commit violence before their respective attacks.

The analysis found that extremist views flourish on websites that don’t dissuade white nationalist communities, such as Gab and 8chan.

Joel Finkelstein, director of the Network Contagion Research Institute and fellow at the Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism, said that the report shows the ideological hostility and indoctrination within white nationalist groups is more similar to foreign terror groups like ISIS than many may think.

Read the whole article here

Post Gazette: Report rips online haunts of accused Tree of Life, New Zealand shooters as platforms for extremism

The Anti-Defamation League says an analysis of the online behavior of Robert Bowers, charged with killing 11 at a Pittsburgh synagogue, and Brenton Tarrant, accused of murdering 50 Muslims in New Zealand, shows that both used similar online forums that promote a “white genocide” conspiracy theory and warns that the platforms are being used to radicalize like-minded extremists to commit similar crimes.

The Anti-Defamation League, an organization that combats anti-Semitism and monitors extremism, said in a report released Tuesday that the forums, and 8chan, are “rife with white supremacist, hateful, anti-Semitic bigotry.”

Read the article here

The Crime Report: How ‘Echo Chambers of Hate’ on Social Media Fuel Right-Wing Violence

An examination of social media posts by two recent mass killers by the Anti-Defamation League suggests that a global shadow community of white supremacists goads its members into deadly hate crimes.

Social media platforms used by white extremists have become “echo chambers of hate” that are likely to inspire more violence similar to the recent anti-semitic and anti-muslim mass killings in New Zealand and Pittsburgh, according to a study by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released Tuesday.

Read the Article here

ADL and NCRI Report: Gab, 4 Chan, 8chan serve as “round-the-clock racist rallies”

New York, NY, April 9, 2019 … Before carrying out mass shooting attacks in Pittsburgh and New Zealand, alleged white supremacist terrorists Robert Bowers and Brenton Tarrant frequented fringe social networking sites that, according to an important new study, serve as echo chambers for the most virulent forms of anti-Semitism and racism, and active recruiting grounds for potential terrorists.

The new study, the second in a series of reports co-authored by the Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI) and the Anti-Defamation League’sCenter on Extremism, reveals for the first time how fringe social media sites such as Gab, 4 Chan and 8chan act like virtual “round-the-clock white supremacist rallies” where hateful notions of Jews and other minorities are openly espoused and closely associated with violence as a solution.

Researchers analyzed millions of conversations on Gab, the site frequented by Pittsburgh synagogue shooter Bowers, and 8chan, the site favored by Christchurch mosque shooter Brenton Tarrant. The results showed disturbing patterns of increasingly hateful rhetoric after the shootings and also revealed linkages between hateful words and conspiratorial ideas about Jews, showing how these ideas spread and mutate across the platforms.

“The data we’ve gathered is the strongest evidence yet of how white supremacists are taking advantage of fringe online social networks to spread hate and encourage likeminded followers to head down the path to violence,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director. “Bowers and Tarrant were deeply conversant in the conspiratorial language of these echo chambers and used coded racist and anti-Semitic language to spread fear and attempt to recruit others into violent acts.”

The new study, “Gab and 8chan: Terrorist Plots Hiding in Plain Sight,” is being submitted into the record of the House Judiciary Committee hearing on white supremacy and extremist use of social media taking place today on Capitol Hill.

The ADL-NCRI study, which employed various data-mining techniques to identify and decode white supremacist rhetoric, analyzed approximately 36 million comments on Gab from August 2016 to January 2018. Researchers deployed machine learning algorithms and frequency analysis to map how strongly words of hate associate with one another and link together hateful and genocidal notions about Jews, migrants and minorities.

Among the findings:

  • The research shows an uptick in hateful rhetoric on fringe web communities in the wake of significant political events or highly publicized extremist violence;
  • Bowers and Tarrant regularly shared themes associated with the white supremacist narrative of “white genocide,” which holds that the white race is threatened by non-white immigration, orchestrated largely by Jews;
  • On these fringe sites, users frequently rely on coded, ironic language so that only “insiders” can discern their rhetoric’s profoundly hateful intent;
  • On Gab, talk of “white genocide” frequently accompanies explicit genocide comments about Jews.
  • 8chan hosts an especially radical iteration of extremism which enabled Tarrant to use it as a site for recruitment and for calling on others to commit violent acts.

“Fringe social media platforms are enabling terrorism in a way that would have been unimaginable even five or ten years ago,” Eileen Hershenov, ADL Senior Vice President of Policy, says in her testimony to the House Judiciary Committee. “The research demonstrates how online propaganda can feed acts of violent terror, and conversely, how violent terror can feed and perpetuate online propaganda. In essence, these platforms serve as round-the-clock white supremacist rallies, amplifying and fulfilling their vitriolic fantasies.”

The Rot Starts At The Top: The Problem With De-Platforming The Far-Right

The Rot Starts At The Top: The Problem With De-Platforming The Far-Right

So, Facebook has finally come to the realisation that white nationalism and separatism is not actually the same as national pride. In a long overdue move, “praise, support, and representation of white nationalism and separatism” will now be banned on the platform.

This comes after growing calls for social media platforms to moderate the content on their sites, including from Scott Morrison, who, following the massacre of 50 people in Christchurch, wants social media companies to “write an algorithm to screen out hate content”.

This article cites our recent report with the ADL

The twin hatreds: How white supremacy and Islamist terrorism strengthen each other online — and in a deadly cycle of attacks

This past week, after attacks on two mosques in New Zealand that left 50 dead, the Islamic State appealed for retribution. Calling the shootings an extension of the U.S.-led military campaign against the group in Syria and Iraq, the group’s spokesman, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, said they “should wake up those who were fooled and should incite the supporters of the caliphate to avenge their religion.” The faithful cannot stand by, he said, while “Muslims are burned to death and are bombed.”

NCRI was interviewed by Sulome Anderson for this article. Read more here