Megan Squire offers insights for coverage of online extremists and COVID-19

Squire, a professor of computer science, was featured in coverage by the New York Times that was in turn cited by Raw Story and Salon. Squire had earlier been

Recent national media coverage of actions by online extremists to capitalize on the COVID-19 pandemic to recruit new members and promote division includes the insights of Megan Squire, a professor of computer science who has conducted extensive research into online extremism.

In a May 3 report by the New York Times titled “The Coronavirus Becomes a Battle Cry for U.S. Extremists,” Squire noted that extremists view crises like the current pandemic as “a chance to turn people.” She pointed to online anti-government rhetoric by an extremist noting that the federal government was using the pandemic as an “excuse to destroy our people.”

The New York Times report was then cited by Raw Story and

Squire had earlier similar insights with Voice of America for a piece by reporter Masood Farivar titled “How Far-Right Extremists Are Exploiting the COVID Pandemic.” Squire told Farivar that many groups were using online memes to work “every angle,” such as portraying the pandemic into anti-Chinese and ant-Semitic contexts.

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