Research study: White Supremacist Groups Are ‘Thriving’ On Facebook, Despite Extremist Ban

Adrian Ovalle

A brand-new research study reported that white supremacist groups are “thriving” on Facebook, despite duplicated guarantees from the business that it does not enable extremists on its platform.

The guard dog group Tech Openness Project launched a research study Thursday that discovered more than 100 white supremacist groups had an existence onFacebook

Project scientists determined 221 white supremacist groups– utilizing details gathered by Southern Hardship Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League, 2 of America’s most popular anti-hate companies– and looked for those groups onFacebook

About 50% of the groups existed on the platform, the research study stated.

Of the 113 white supremacist groups the project discovered on Facebook, 36% had groups or pages produced by active users. The staying 64% had a page auto-generated by Facebook itself.

“With millions of people now quarantining at home and vulnerable to ideologies that seek to exploit people’s fears and resentments about COVID-19, Facebook’s failure to remove white supremacist groups could give these organizations fertile new ground to attract followers,” TTP’s research study stated.

A screenshot of a white supremacist group’s Facebook page from the research study by the Tech Openness Project.

The research study follows years of increasing white nationalism in the U.S. and increased analysis over social media business’ role in offering online areas for hate groups to spread their propaganda, to arrange and to hire.

There was a Facebook event page, after all, for the lethal 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. And a white supremacist shooter live-streamed on Facebook as he massacred 51 people at 2 New Zealand mosques early in 2015. (The business later on stated it had actually eliminated 1.5 million videos of the mass shooting.)

Facebook has actually given that taken a more aggressive position in prohibiting white supremacist activity however has actually been slammed for what extremism scientists refer to as a whack-a-mole method to dislike on the platform. The business frequently removes material just after queries from reporters.

After HuffPost emailed a Facebook representative about TTP’s report today, project scientists saw the business had actually eliminated pages for 55 white supremacist groups determined in its report.

“We are making progress keeping this activity off our platform and are reviewing content in this report,” a Facebook representative stated in a declaration to HuffPost, including that the business has “banned over 250 white supremacist organizations and removed 4.7 million pieces of content tied to organized hate globally in the first quarter of 2020, over 96% of which we found before someone reported it.”

Facebook has a team of 350 people working to establish and implement its Dangerous Person and Organizations policy, under which hate and horror groups are prohibited, the representativeadded

A screenshot by the Tech Openness Project shows how Facebook auto-generates pages for white supremacist groups.

Of the 113 white supremacist companies that the project discovered on Facebook, 64% had pages that had actually been produced by Facebook itself. When a specific user notes a task in his or her profile that does not have a matching business page, such auto-generated pages take place. If one or more users list the Universal Aryan Brotherhood Motion as a company, Facebook produces a page for the neo-Nazigroup

A uto-generated pages do not have administrators who can utilize the pages to interact with followers, Facebook’s representative stated.

A confidential whistleblower submitted a grievance with the Securities and Exchange Commission about Facebook auto-generating pages for hate and horror groups. In some cases such pages make countless likes, using hate groups a ready-made recruiting swimming pool, the whistleblower argued.

More than 250 people liked the auto-generated page for the Council on Conservative People– whose white supremacist propaganda motivated Dylann Roofing system to massacre 9 black parishioners at a Charleston, South Carolina, church in2015

That page, that included a link to the group’s website, appeared to have actually been eliminated by Facebook on Friday.

A screenshot revealing another auto-generated white supremacist page.

Facebook likewise appeared Friday to have actually eliminated auto-generated pages for the white nationalist website VDare and the violent neo-Nazi group Northwest Front, both of which were discussed in TTP’s report.

A user-created page for the neo-Nazi group Aryan Countries, which had actually been active for simply over 10 years, was likewise eliminated on Friday.

Still, numerous white supremacist companies determined in TTP’s report stay onFacebook One user-created page for Arktos Media– the fascist European publishing house with close ties to American white supremacist Richard Spencer– is still active. More than 42,000 people have actually liked the page.

A page for the hate group Battle White Genocide, which has more than 1,000 likes, is still active. A trio of years-old pages or groups called Extreme right Death Team are likewise stillonline

Facebook has a comprehensive procedure– consisting of assessments with academics and different companies– for establishing requirements to figure out which groups are thought about hate groups, the business’s representative informed HuffPost.

However the business does not follow any one organization’s list of hate groups therefore might not constantly concur with hate group recognitions made by the Southern Hardship Law Center, the Anti-Defamation League or TTP, the representative added.

A screenshot shows how users can be directed to check out other hate pages.

TTP’s report raises an alarm about the function of so-called associated pages on Facebook, which it stated can press users into a white supremacist echo chamber.

“TTP’s investigation found that among the 113 hate groups that had a Facebook presence, 77 of them had Pages that displayed Related Pages, often pointing people to other extremist or right-wing content,” the report stated. “In some cases, the Related Pages directed users to additional SPLC- or ADL-designated hate groups.”

The user-created Facebook page for American Liberty Union, for instance, consisted of a link to a page for the book “White Identity: Racial Consciousness in the 21st Century,” by Jared Taylor, another popular U.S.-based white supremacist.

Redirects to Life After Hate emerged in just 6% of look for white supremacist material.

In 2019, Faebook revealed that it would reroute users who browsed white supremacist terms to a page for a group that works to restore extremists.

“Searches for terms associated with white supremacy will surface a link to Life After Hate’s page, where people can find support in the form of education, interventions, academic research and outreach,” the business stated at the time

However TTP’s research study discovered that the Life After Hate link just emerged in 6% of its 221 look for white supremacist groups.

“One factor may be that not all of the hate groups listed by SPLC and ADL make their ideologies obvious in their names,” the TTP report yielded, a referral to how fascist groups often utilize coded language to conceal their true intentions.

However the project stated its scientists were seldom rerouted to Life After Hate even when browsing apparent white supremacist terms.

“Of 25 groups with ‘Ku Klux Klan’ in their official name, only one triggered the link to anti-hate resources,” the report discovered.

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