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How Hate Groups’ Secret Sound System Works

By The Atlantic

White supremacists exploit the weaknesses in the social-media ecosystem as Facebook and Google struggle to keep upRead full story

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  • As a New Zealander, the events in Christchurch feel so completely foreign, an artifact of the modern digital age riding roughshod over kiwi (and human) values.

    “Journalists and regular internet users need to be cognizant of their role in spreading these ideas, especially because the platform companies haven’t recognized theirs.”

  • No single group is more to blame for the past two decades of small- to mid-scale terror attacks than the mass media. Journalists like to think they merely report on the societal discourse, but in reality, they create it. People understood this power in the mid-20th century, but today decades of sensationalism (starting with the rise of cable news and 24/7 coverage) have eroded both journalistic standards and public trust, while also blinding news outlets to when bad actors are manipulating them

    No single group is more to blame for the past two decades of small- to mid-scale terror attacks than the mass media. Journalists like to think they merely report on the societal discourse, but in reality, they create it. People understood this power in the mid-20th century, but today decades of sensationalism (starting with the rise of cable news and 24/7 coverage) have eroded both journalistic standards and public trust, while also blinding news outlets to when bad actors are manipulating them.

    “The extra attention that these ideas gain in the aftermath of a violent attack isn’t just an unfortunate side effect of news coverage. It’s the sound system by which extremist movements transmit their ideas to a broader public, and they are using it with more and more skill.”

  • You can’t combat ideologies with oppression and censorship, you can only beat them with education and openness. That means, amongst other things, responsible reporting and lots more of it.

    The issue here is social platforms refusing to accept they are media and avoiding the regulations and responsibilities that should apply to them as such.

  • Well Joan I agree with most of what your saying but fear your actually self defeating one of your best points , why did you repeatedly name this ugly site ?? Your obviously educated right over the top, but I don’t think that was smart. Also to your point of how we fall to allowing propaganda, it’s a tough one , over 40 Christians were slaughtered in a church in Nigeria just weeks ago, nothing in the mainstream, Christian genocide in Iraq , never in media, it’s an awful world. My wife & I are in a

    Well Joan I agree with most of what your saying but fear your actually self defeating one of your best points , why did you repeatedly name this ugly site ?? Your obviously educated right over the top, but I don’t think that was smart. Also to your point of how we fall to allowing propaganda, it’s a tough one , over 40 Christians were slaughtered in a church in Nigeria just weeks ago, nothing in the mainstream, Christian genocide in Iraq , never in media, it’s an awful world. My wife & I are in a partial 30 day fast praying for the Muslim family’s in Christchurch, that occurrence is just awful, it’s all we can do right now.

  • I have long since felt the same, I just wish to emphasize and reiterate the writer's point:

    "The moderation policies of different platforms directly affect how groups amplify political ideologies online."

    &

    "I’m not citing any of the personalities and tropes he tried to publicize. Withholding details runs counter to the usual rules of storytelling—show, don’t tell—but it also helps slow down the spread of white-supremacist keywords. Journalists and regular internet users need to be cognizant

    I have long since felt the same, I just wish to emphasize and reiterate the writer's point:

    "The moderation policies of different platforms directly affect how groups amplify political ideologies online."

    &

    "I’m not citing any of the personalities and tropes he tried to publicize. Withholding details runs counter to the usual rules of storytelling—show, don’t tell—but it also helps slow down the spread of white-supremacist keywords. Journalists and regular internet users need to be cognizant of their role in spreading these ideas, especially because the platform companies haven’t recognized theirs."

  • Being a hate filled white supremist murderer doesn't mean you're stupid. This individual clearly knows his way around social media and used it effectively...unfortunately. But he is still a hate-filled white supremist murderer, who through his use of social media has the ability to connect with other individuals around the world who share and support his beliefs. While the internet has given each of us access to the combined knowledge of mankind, in essence it has also given all of us access to our

    Being a hate filled white supremist murderer doesn't mean you're stupid. This individual clearly knows his way around social media and used it effectively...unfortunately. But he is still a hate-filled white supremist murderer, who through his use of social media has the ability to connect with other individuals around the world who share and support his beliefs. While the internet has given each of us access to the combined knowledge of mankind, in essence it has also given all of us access to our deepest fears and the worst aspects of our humanity. Once again, we see an example of our progress, as we attempt to move forward towards a better world, and our inability to keep up and control the progress we have created and embraced, as we drag our evil along with us.

  • A few nut jobs and everyone wants to start infringing on individual freedoms. They are talking like there are all these groups, perhaps group thinking, but you are giving them far too much credibility for numbers and organization. Most are individuals with severe problems. The media, by constantly talking and writing about it, do nothing but foster copycat killings.

  • We’ve gone from journalistic restraint to moderated chat rooms to the Wild West where social media see themselves as merely platforms and not publishers. They are playing right into the hand of fringe groups. This article explains how and what might be done to restrain them. Good read.

  • Like parasites,bigots and extremists infect any movement that doesn't take steps to protect themselves.It will be expensive but every moment lobbying for social change has to control what messages are attached to their movements.

    In the pre social media it was easier to deny access and reduce publicity. News outlets could refuse to engage with their rhetoric so the only mention they got was to report criminal activity.

    Today even major news outlets have difficulty. The comments are often racist

    Like parasites,bigots and extremists infect any movement that doesn't take steps to protect themselves.It will be expensive but every moment lobbying for social change has to control what messages are attached to their movements.

    In the pre social media it was easier to deny access and reduce publicity. News outlets could refuse to engage with their rhetoric so the only mention they got was to report criminal activity.

    Today even major news outlets have difficulty. The comments are often racist and the level of moderation is minor.

    While we insist on freedom of speech Social media companies can legally refuse to publish offensive opinions and propaganda. Algorithms can be defeated by changing language labels or mass mailing messages . At the very least we can protect ourselves by reporting the offensive messages instead of depending on others to do it for us.

  • I don't think this NZ mosque attack was anything more than a gladio style operation. There is a a punitive clampdown initiated by the NZ government. It shows a multiple man operation run in a orderly fashion, and not in a haphazardly manner of a crazed gunman. It has all the earmarks of another operation against the NK embassy in Spain. The whole thing stinks military or para military planning. My apologies to anyone on this board who feels that my comments are incinduary. Respecting the dead means we must all search for the truth.

  • Why are white people making excuses for a murderer?

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