How Charlottesville exposed digital hate groups

New York Daily News/August 30, 2017

By Mike Rogers

You may have heard a lot about ISIS and the internet, but white supremacists and neo-Nazis use the internet to support their cause just as much, although in different ways. Let’s start first with the reaction to the terrible, tragic and appalling events in Charlottesville.

In the wake of Charlottesville, there has been a strong repudiation of white nationalism and supremacy movements in the public and online. The neo-Nazi website, The Daily Stormer, was booted from the hosting service GoDaddy and removed from Google. It’s since moved to the dark web, the parts of the internet you can’t see.

Discord, an app popular with gamers, shut down an “alt-right” server and closed a number of accounts associated with the movement.

The tech community also went after neo-Nazi groups’ use of financial platforms. Kickstarter and GoFundMe reaffirmed their policies against funding hate speech, and in some cases closed accounts requesting donations.

PayPal, the payment processor, also cracked down, announcing that it would bar users from taking donations for alt-right and similar rallies.

Apple too announced that it would stop supporting Apple Pay on sites associated with white nationalist groups and organizations.

So what can we take away from this? Well, to start, the white nationalist and neo-Nazi movement has a well-established online presence. The groups, like ISIS, use it to communicate with one another and to develop, encourage, and foster beliefs amongst its supporters and to recruit new members.

Again, and just as with ISIS, they use social media to promote their message of hate and troll groups and individuals. The groups have risen in prominence and become more open and public in their profiles. In the wake of some posts and videos I’ve done, they’ve even come after my social media accounts, trolling my pages and leaving insidious messages of hate.

They have websites where you can buy neo-Nazi t-shirts, hoodies, and even stickers for your car. Until recently, they used popular services such as PayPal and Apple Pay to process transactions as though you were shopping on Amazon or iTunes.

The backlash against these groups since Charlottesville has been significant as we discussed earlier. Perhaps just as notable is the online movement by groups and individuals to unmask and identify the neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and their supporters online.

In some cases these efforts have been successful and led to individuals being fired from their jobs, and in one case publicly disowned by his father.

The internet is a powerful tool. It links people together, breaks down barriers, and opens up opportunities for educations and communication unlike anything in human history. Unfortunately, with this openness comes all the negative elements of human nature.

Hatred, bigotry, and racism have no place in our society, and should have no place online, but sadly they do exist. Online, it will be incumbent on tech companies to prevent their platforms for being used for terrorism of any kind. In the real world, we will all need to confront this violence and hatred when we see it, and build a better environment for our children and their future.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.

Educational DVDs and Videos