Ctrl Alt-Right: How White Supremacists Use Coded Messages to Communicate Online PDF Print

15 April 2019

Country: Global

by: Grant Williams

CntlAltFarRightIt is no secret that terrorists have used online platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter as a means to recruit and radicalise people online. As soon as it became clear that groups like the Islamic State were actively using these platforms to recruit followers and spread propaganda, social media companies started to employ artificial intelligence (AI) technology to flag, and remove hateful content before it could spread further. As of March of this year, this software was removing more than one million accounts per day from Facebook alone.

However, in the wake of the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand, it has become clear that AI tools are not picking up on far right, extremist messages in the same way. Some blame social media companies for employing a double standard in evaluating violent content, but the reality is more complex. White supremacists frequently communicate through coded language, ‘in jokes’ and sarcasm, circumventing the AI tools meant to spot only explicitly violent content, allowing an undercurrent of extreme hate to flourish online.

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