New report shows how white supremacy extremism spreads: 'A communication pipeline for hate groups'

New report shows how white supremacy extremism spreads: 'A communication pipeline for hate groups'
Broadmark / Pixabay

A new think tank report, funded by Google, aims to highlight the connection between the internet and how it serves as a driving force for the spread of harmful information on white supremacy extremism.

The report, published by a company called Jigsaw—described as "a 'tech incubator' that has operated within Google for the last decade" according to USA Today—focuses on interviews with former extremists who warned that the Internet has become a communication pipeline for hate groups. They also explained how it has become a portal to vet more potential extremists and circulate potentially dangerous content.

Various studies have also outlined how YouTube has played a dominant role in the circulation of extreme content that contains rhetoric to further influence "violent ideologies." Bridget Todd, host of the podcast, "There Are No Girls on the Internet." also weighed in as she scrutinized how internet platforms and technology are being underestimated when it comes to the influence of extremism.

"They're underemphasizing the role that their own technology and their own platforms have in pushing people towards extremism," Todd said.

While she noted that it is partially the responsibility of the viewer to not be drawn into this type of content, she also noted the importance of also holding platforms accountable for allowing such content to circulate on their sites.

"Individuals certainly have a responsibility to not allow themselves to be engulfed in extremist content," Todd said. "But if you're a platform like Google, you can't just emphasize the individual's responsibility and completely obscure the fact that your massive platform has allowed online extremist content to fester and become so popular."

Due to heightened concerns about the circulation of misinformation and harmful content, YouTube, along with many other platforms, have aimed to incorporate practices to monitor and limit the amount of harmful content being uploaded to their sites. But many argue there's much more they could do to address the problem.


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