Pittsburgh Post Gazette – How Robert Bowers went from conservative to white nationalist

Rich Lord from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette wrote an interesting article detailing some of Robert Bower’s past as well as his engagement on Gab. Joel Finkelstein, NCRI Director, was interview for this article and provided insight into his behavior on Gab and about Gab in general.

Read the article here:



On Gab, domestic terrorist Robert Bowers engaged with several influential alt-right figures

Southern Povertry Law Center’s Hatewatch released a study with NCRI on Robert Bower’s Gab postings.

In the months leading up to Robert Bowers’ murderous rampage, he was in deep on the social media platform Gab, frequently reposting content from influential alt-right accounts including Jared Wyand and Bradley Dean Griffin.

Read the full report by Hatewatch here: https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/11/01/gab-domestic-terrorist-robert-bowers-engaged-several-influential-alt-right-figures

WSJ: Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Puts Spotlight on Fringe Platforms and Their Partners

A study from the Cyprus University of Technology, the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science and University College London found that 5.4% of all Gab posts include a hate word—more than twice as often as Twitter posts, but much less frequently than on 4chan’s Politically Incorrect message board. The study said popular hashtags on Gab included “Pizzagate,” a conspiracy theory, and “Ban Islam.”

Read the full article: https://www.wsj.com/articles/pittsburgh-synagogue-shootingputs-spotlight-on-fringe-platforms-and-their-partners-1540861173

NY Mag: What We Know About Robert Bowers, the Alleged Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooter

In an article about the shooter in Pittsburgh, New York Magazine referenced NCRI’s analysis as written about in the Washington Post.

Bowers’s racism wasn’t only directed at Jews, the Washington Post reports.

Many of his rants expressed racism against African Americans, according to an analysis of posts gathered by the Network Contagion Research Institute, a group of scientists and engineers who study online hate.

Half a dozen of Bowers’s posts included slurs against women who had relationships with black men. He uploaded many posts that referenced nooses and ropes and hanging. Nearly 20 posts used the n-word.

Read the full article: http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/10/what-we-know-about-robert-bowers-alleged-synagogue-shooter.html

UAB research shows ‘explosive growth’ of Antisemitism online and we must confront it

An Alabama.com article references our work and the paper “A Quantitative Approach to Understanding Online Antisemitism”.

New research coming out of the University of Alabama at Birmingham detailing an “explosive growth” of Antisemitism online should be a wake-up call for everyone, particularly after last weekend’s shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

Conservatives should be especially concerned, because even though these uninvited bigots are relatively few, they have indeed glommed on the fringes of our movement and must be shaken off before they do lasting damage.

Read the full article: https://www.al.com/opinion/2018/10/uab-research-shows-explosive-growth-of-antisemitism-online-and-we-must-confront-it.html

Another Washington Post article citing our work

In an article about the Pittsburg shooter, the Post writes:

Bowers’s low profile stands in sharp contrast to feeds on Gab, including the since-deleted account in which a user with Bowers’s name compared Jews to Satan and complained that Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement cannot succeed so long as Jews “infest” the country.

Many of his rants expressed racism against African Americans, according to an analysis of posts gathered by the Network Contagion Research Institute, a group of scientists and engineers who study online hate.


WHYY: Scientists say Gab, a Philly-based social network, is an incubator of hate

WHYY intervierwed Jeremy, Joel, and Barry about Gab, hate online, social networks, and our work and mission.

Gab launched in 2016 and claims to have more than 800,000 users. The company describes itself as a defender of free speech, an alternative to platforms like Facebook or Twitter it says have become too politically correct. CEO Andrew Torba has argued that efforts to limit “fake news” and offensive content on social media have resulted in censorship.

The site’s claim of being a marketplace for free speech is a facade, said Joel Finkelstein, a neuroscientist at Princeton University. Finkelstein directs the Network Contagion Research Institute, a nonprofit that studies how hate spreads online and includes collaborators in the U.S., the U.K., and Europe.

“It’s very clear that free speech is a coded way of saying the alt-right can say what they want,” Finkelstein said.

Read the full article: https://whyy.org/articles/how-scientists-say-gab-a-philly-based-social-network-became-an-incubator-of-hate/

NCRI Research Featured in the Washington Post

Craig Timberg and Drew Harwell wrote an excellent article about out most recent paper,   “A Quantitative Approach to Understanding Online Antisemitism“.  Their article, “Racism and anti-Semitism surged in corners of the Web after Trump’s election, analysis shows” discusses our finding about the nature of alt-right social networks and how real world events such as Trump’s election, inauguration, and the Charlottesville protests markedly increased anti-black and anti-semitic rhetoric and memes in these networks.   They also explain how hateful memes such as “The Happy Merchant” themed memes are created in alt-right networks and move to more mainstream social networks. Continue reading “NCRI Research Featured in the Washington Post”