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8chan looks like a terrorist recruiting site after the New Zealand shootings. Should the government treat it like one?

As most of the world condemned last week’s mass shooting in New Zealand, a contrary story line emerged on 8chan, the online message board where the alleged shooter had announced the attack and urged others to continue the slaughter. “Who should i kill?” one anonymous poster wrote. “I have never been this happy,” wrote another. “I am ready. I want to fight.”

To experts in online extremism, the performance echoed another brand of terrorism — that carried out by Islamist militants who have long used the Web to mobilize followers and incite violence. Their tone, tactics and propaganda were eerily similar. The biggest difference was their ambitions: a white-supremacist uprising, instead of a Muslim caliphate.

NCRI worked with the Washington Post on this article.  Read the article here

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:

When Twitter Bans Extremists, GAB Puts Out the Welcome Mat

The first in a series of reports co-authored by the Network Contagion Research Institute and ADL’s Center on Extremism

The toxicity on social media creates victims online and online ecosystems that breed real-life hatred.  Gab, a self-described “free speech” platform largely used by right wing extremists, has been the preferred platform for hatred and vitriol. Users include Robert Bowers, who posted on the site just before he massacred congregants  at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Social media platforms such as Twitter consider the best ways to respond to hate and extremism, including by “de-platforming” – or banning users who violate their terms of service – to remove the toxicity on their platforms.  There is some debate around de-platforming and whether it solves or just suppresses hate and extremism, and also whether it reduces extremism on one platform that only resurfaces – potentially more virulently – on others.

The Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI) is a group of researchers who have partnered with ADL to look at challenging social media analysis. NCRI director and co-founder Joel Finkelstein, who conducted the study and co-authored the report, is a COE research fellow.

This line of research includes a deep dive into how Twitter bans may serve to exacerbate Gab’s virulent ecosystem. What we found is that when Twitter de-platforms a group of users, Gab often treats those moments as recruitment opportunities

Read the Full report here

Post Gazette – When Twitter bans, Gab grows

Gab.com, the social media site apparently favored by Robert Bowers in the months before the Tree of Life massacre in which he is charged, grows when Twitter bans extremist voices, according to a report issued Tuesday by the Anti-Defamation League and the Network Contagion Research Institute.

The report characterizes bans by Twitter as the lifeblood of Gab. It raises the question of whether banning voices deemed “hateful” from given social media platforms is the most effective way of combating communication that spurs violence.

Read the article here

Read the ADL Report Here

Silicon Valley’s Year in Hate

On Oct. 26, 2018, authorities arrested 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc in South Florida after he mailed 14 crudely constructed pipe bombs to outspoken critics of President Trump over the span of five days.

His social media accounts were dedicated to extreme right-wing conspiracy theories attacking prominent liberals, such as philanthropist George Soros and Bill and Hillary Clinton. He also regularly circulated conspiratorial content about undocumented immigrants and Islamic terrorism, and he reportedly told a former co-worker, “Everybody that wasn’t white and wasn’t a white supremacist didn’t belong in the world.”

Read SPLC’s report citing our research here

Despite YouTube‘s Efforts, It‘s Still a ‘Vortex‘ of Hate

CLARKSBURG CALLER

Clarksburg Caller recent wrote an article citing our work in analyzing YouTube usage in Gab.

A year after YouTube‘s chief executive promised to curb “problematic” videos, it continues to harbor and even recommend hateful, conspiratorial videos, allowing racists, anti-Semites and proponents of other extremist views to use the platform as an online library for spreading their ideas.

is particularly valuable to users of Gab.ai and , social media sites that are popular among hate groups but have scant video capacity of their own. Users on these sites link to YouTube more than to any other website, thousands of times a day, according to the recent work of Data and Society and the Network Contagion Research Institute, both of which track the spread of hate speech.

Read the article here

East Boston Reacts To White Supremacist Fliers

Jenna Fisher from Patch wrote an article about recent white supremacist fliers popping up in Boston citing our work. After fliers promoting white supremacy appeared around East Boston Thursday, several residents sprang into action, walking street to street to tear them down and prompting the mayor and other elected officials to release a statement denouncing the message.

Read more here

Two years after #Pizzagate showed the dangers of hateful conspiracies, they’re still rampant on YouTube

We collaborated with Craig Timberg and other journalists at the Washington Post to collect and expose the fact the YouTube has been a repository for hate.

A year after YouTube’s chief executive promised to curb “problematic” videos, it continues to harbor and even recommend hateful, conspiratorial videos, allowing racists, anti-Semites and proponents of other extremist views to use the platform as an online library for spreading their ideas.

YouTube is particularly valuable to users of Gab.ai and 4chan, social media sites that are popular among hate groups but have scant video capacity of their own. Users on these sites link to YouTube more than to any other website, thousands of times a day, according to the recent work of Data and Society and the Network Contagion Research Institute, both of which track the spread of hate speech.

Read More Here

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:

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/crime-courts/2018/11/10/Robert-Bowers-extremism-Tree-of-Life-massacre-shooting-pittsburgh-Gab-Warroom/stories/201811080165