E-Net News

Reveal podcast, article feature Squire's insights on online extremism

The podcast from The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX focuses on how hate groups are finding ways to remain online despite crackdowns. 

A recent episode of the Reveal podcast from The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX titled "Hate in the homeland" features insights from Megan Squire, professor of computing sciences. 

Squire, who has conducted research into online networks of hate groups, participated in the discussion about how those groups are managing to remain online despite efforts to silence extreme sites. 

Squire recounts hearing the news about a gunman killing dozens of Muslim worshipers in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the discovery that he had posted a manifesto online. 

"I had already been collecting these hate manifestos from different killers, trying to do some text mining on them to see what themes they were taking from on another, to see if they were radicalizing one another," Squire told the podcast host. 

Squire collected what ended up being multiple versions of the shooter's manifesto posted online, but that there were only slight variations. "They were treating the manifesto as an artifact, almost a holy artifact," Squire said. 

She found something different with the livestreamed video of the attack, which others were changing significantly — creating memes, adding soundtracks, adding clips and artwork. That made it significantly harder to remove from the internet, she said. 

Listen to the entire podcast here

In an accompanying article, "To protect and slur," that focused on police officers who are members of Confederate, anti-Islam, misogynistic or anti-government militia groups on Facebook, Squire provided context to how some hate groups use the platform to organize.

"Extremists are definitely using Facebook groups to plan physical, real-world events or just to make their lives a little smaller, to find friends," Squire told the reporters. 

Read the entire article here.  


Owen Covington,
6/10/2019 2:40 PM