Militants use coronavirus to radicalize and expand conspiracy online

Militants use coronavirus to radicalize and expand conspiracy online

REVERB is a new documentary series from CBSN Originals. Check out the video player episode “Extremists Next Door” above.

With cities and countries around the world taking drastic measures to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus, militant groups are using pandemics to radicalize people online.

According to a report released by the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparation, “ supporters of national and international militant groups have been following followers to cause panic, target minorities and migrants, and celebrate the death of the dead. Their enemies were encouraged to attack during the COVID-19 pandemic. “

ADL is monitoring how militant groups have been using this outbreak for several months, said Oren Segal, vice chairman of the Extremist Center of the Slavery Prevention Association. “Militants will never miss the opportunity to use the crisis to expand their agenda,” said Seagull. “Whether it’s accusing Asians, Jews, etc … is only a small part of their fundamental ideology, and accusing others about world issues.”

As the New Jersey report states, it applies to familiar patterns.

Already, Chinese-Americans and other Asian ethnic groups have reported a surge in anti-Asia hatred crimes and a disturbing rise in anti-Asia rhetoric related to the virus.

“I think it’s easy for some people to call this the Wuhan flu, the Chinese virus, or” Kung Fu “,” Seagull said. “It just casts doubt on the whole community and the American Chinese and American Asian communities.”

According to Segal, the goal of militant groups is to overcome the fear, anxiety and uncertainty that people are experiencing in the crisis.

“People in desperate times may be adopting all sorts of ideas. Perhaps they don’t usually do so to make themselves feel good,” he said. “And that’s what militants have to offer.

Kieren Alice tracks how militant groups have armed COVID-19 of Moonshot CVE, a London-based group that aims to disrupt and end violent extremism doing.

“Looking at the conversation these people have in their community, they’re definitely talking about how they could take advantage of this crisis and bring people into their groups and recruit them,” said Alice. Was.

Groups such as white supremacists use the moment of chaos as part of a theory called accelerationism—participating in a collective attack accelerates the collapse of social structures and creates a racially pure state. The idea of ​​enabling the reconstruction of society in the form.

“They use this to justify that the order of liberal democracy is incorrect and not functioning,” Alice explained. “They see this crisis as an opportunity to bring about social disruption. That disruption is a fertile ground for people to be exploited and used … We talk about the call and the cry of the rally, and we say we need to go out and spread the virus. “

In an online bulletin board known for trafficking in white hegemony, a thread about coronaviruses contains discussions about using viruses to target non-white communities. Hashtags such as #sneezethenshake and #spreadcorona have appeared, and memes have appeared to encourage infected people to go to mosques and temples.

“They are talking about spreading the virus aggressively,” Alice added, “99.9% of these people are simply posting and using the situation. There are a lot of viewers: they are now facing loneliness, frustration, reduced mental health and are lonely, they may have financial concerns that they may have lost their jobs Well, as giving them a little purpose now. “

Online billboards are also flooded with conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus. Aris, who has monitored sites such as 4chan, 8kun, and the messaging platform Telegram, states that the most common conspiracy theories on the site tend to be anti-Semitism.

Segal says the defamation federation is concerned that this online rhetoric could lead to real harm.

“Conspiracy is the lifeblood of anti-Semitism,” he told CBS News. “One of the key features of anti-Semitism over the years was the notion that Jews controlled and manipulated world events at the expense of non-Jews, whether it was a war or a financial crisis. Or whether it is a global pandemic … anti-Semitism always appears. “

Segal is concerned that businesses and schools are almost closed, increasing the likelihood that people who spend online will be exposed to the publicity of extremist groups.

“It’s on a gaming platform like Steam or Discord, which means it’s on TikTok. It’s everywhere,” he said. “It’s something we need to remember because kids spend more time in the stream because they are not in school. These are the same spaces where militants are active is.”

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