Facebook, Josh Bates, Megan Squire discussed on WNYC Programming

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

These Jews there in these positions of power. You know, When you Google that kind of stuff, you see it and you consume it eventually, after a few months, kind of get desensitized to it, and everybody's agreeing with everyone. For the most part you get along. There's that online community. Storefront was kind of my 1st 1 He didn't know their names, but they were his team now. It's been the next 10 years as what he calls a keyboard warrior for the white supremacist movement. He'd be there for every step in its evolution from joining the K and the neo Nazi National socialist movement. More diffuse groups and websites that called themselves all right and identity. Arian. Some of these groups would go to some lengths to appear respectable and say We're not racist. We're not Nazis were not the cake on then Some of those groups were Nazis. They were the cake, okay, and you were In all of them. Does that tell you that the differences between these groups are more about that image and the tactics than absolutely the core ideas or who they attract? Absolutely. We've been using the terms white nationalism. 1.0, and white nationalism to for a few years now and 1.0 is your Earlier groups. You know, Cookbooks clan They're They're very explicit. National Socialist movement want swastikas on their uniforms under flags. Your 2.0, guys, They're your identity. Europa's where they're dressing in khakis. Collar shirts and doc shoes and they've got these nice cropped haircuts. They call it good optics. But anybody who was in the early one point movements like myself I could see right through it. You know, they just put lipstick on a pig. But people who followed the white supremacist movement for decades like type investigations, reporter David My words. They say that this alright makeover of the old racist, right? It was transformative. That radical right was very backward looking very stiff and formal. They didn't have any. Humor was not part of their repertoire. In fact, their primary recruitment demographic really was men between the ages of 40 and 60 With the added into the All right what we saw was this very Tech savvy, very agile, a movement that instead of running away from sort of the culturally savvy component aspects of the Internet, rather embraced them wholly. Instead of writing racist newsletters that people had to sign up for. They were making names and jokes in places like Reddit and four champ and the's forums that celebrated being politically incorrect. They were the perfect place for those ideas to take root hybridize with other fringe ideas and grow into something that could be shared on more mainstream platforms like Twitter and Facebook. And it was, you know, very brilliant because it meant that suddenly, their recruitment demographic was much larger and had, you know a lot more political activist energy. They're younger people. And Josh Bates says that energy got a huge boost in 2016 with the rise of a new presidential candidate. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists and some I assume are good people because from wass spouting off a lot of the same talking points is general white nationalists. He breathed new life into them. And the thought leaders of the movement just took full advantage. Thinking that I could take it even further, and they did. He started to take their ideas into the real world. After Trump's election in 2017 computer scientist Megan Squire set up software to track extremists on Facebook. She started out studying the misogynist gamergate movement. That letter to all of these different anti Muslim and neo Confederate and white supremacist groups. At the time. Facebook was a central player, if not the central fire, and it was the place where these guys all wanted to be, and I was looking for a crossover. Ideological crossover group member should cross over just tryingto, I guess map the ecosystem of hate on Facebook. She watched this ecosystem plan what one neo Nazi website would call the summer of hate. Anti Muslim marches, misogynist, proud boy rallies and what was shaping up to be this really world media of all these different, mostly online hate groups, they unite the right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. This is where she came across Josh Bates. It.

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