Extremism on social media on the rise

The tragic attacks on Norwegian youth in late July may have been the handiwork of an individual, but the motivation for them to take such extreme actions may be partially influenced by the product of many toxic ideologies finding their voices online. Just as news of the tragedy travelled quickly across social media networks, so too did the opposite - the messages of extremists and fringe groups.

A piece penned by the Associated Press (via Silicon Valley) highlighted the increase of members in groups spreading potentially violent thoughts and messages, groups that otherwise go largely unnoticed by mainstream media. Social media is exceptionally powerful for uniting persons - friends or distant acquaintances - with common interests under many umbrellas. Social media was hailed as the catalyst for ensuring the success of a few Middle East revolutions earlier this year.

Unfortunately social networks, on the onset, do not discriminate against messages for the greater good of humanity, or for a small portion of it. A clear example is the manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik, the man responsible for the Norwegian terrorist attacks. In light of the attacks, his manifesto has now been read by an untold number of people thanks to the Internet and social networks.

Breivik cites the English Defense Force, a far-right group protesting what they see as "uncontrolled Muslim immigration" to the United Kingdom, as an inspiration. The group began with just 50 members two years ago, but has now swelled to almost 100,000 members. The group credits this growth to their online presence on social networks.

While the EDF has strongly denied advocating violence against anyone despite Breivik's glowing endorsement, some analysts are unsure of how much of the extremist ideologies translates to actual violence on the streets, according to the AP.

Law enforcement officials see social networks as a mixed blessing. On one hand, the messages spread by online movements may motivate individuals to be recruited by groups. On the other hand, individuals tend to leave more personal information on social network profiles than they would for online chatrooms or forums, and thus individuals who are likely to commit crimes can be easily tracked down by police.

Fortunately, despite the attention gained online, the seemingly large virtual support base does not necessarily translate to actual support outside of the Internet. In the last parliamentary election in the United Kingdom, the British National Party (depicted above), whose views are in line with the EDF, saw little voter turnout. This stood in contrast to heavy traffic on their website.

Even if these far-right extremists live online instead of the real world, law enforcement officials face a tough task of ensuring a few disturbed individuals are not motivated to translate messages to violence.

Image Credit: Student-direct.co.uk

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very interesting topic, in our country, social media actually is a drive that moves the masses, specially the celebrities and newspapers using twitter. But I still dont get it why the cover image on the front page has a photo of our police (Argentinian Federal Police).

A lot of social media is extremely biased. You got sides saying that Muslims are all plotting to murder every non-Muslim in the world and you've got other sides saying that Muslims are all peaceful folk but the evil western empires are murdering them indiscriminately in the open so they have to defend themselves. Both are far from being true.

Interesting an article that covers Extremism, but completely ignores Left Wing Extremism that has been more active and done more damage, overall, than this one Right Winger, this is why people don't trust the press they don't even try to hide their biases anymore

I certainly cannot appreciate biased journalism even if it is "unprofessional". You or no one else can decide if somebody's ideas are wrong because you think so. There is nothing wrong with being a communist so there can be nothing wrong with being a fascist.

Fascism is hated for it's "murderous" qualities but Communism killed more people in WW2 and after it and it's still perfectly okay to be a communist but not a fascist.

Now that's fascism!

blackwit said,
I certainly cannot appreciate biased journalism even if it is "unprofessional". You or no one else can decide if somebody's ideas are wrong because you think so. There is nothing wrong with being a communist so there can be nothing wrong with being a fascist.

Fascism is hated for it's "murderous" qualities but Communism killed more people in WW2 and after it and it's still perfectly okay to be a communist but not a fascist.

Now that's fascism!


Maybe because Fascism has been the bigger threat to the UK and Communism poses little threat ? Fascism is seen as a bad system and it can never work. Communism is good in theory but in the real world it just doesn't work.

PS Russia also had the biggest losses, Communism didn't make them the bigger killers the fact that their Russia the biggest country in Europe did.

Gaffney said,

Maybe because Fascism has been the bigger threat to the UK and Communism poses little threat ? Fascism is seen as a bad system and it can never work. Communism is good in theory but in the real world it just doesn't work.

PS Russia also had the biggest losses, Communism didn't make them the bigger killers the fact that their Russia the biggest country in Europe did.

It seems to me that you consider yourself somewhat of an expert on Fascism but really don't know much about it.

Please read up on the years in Italy and Germany when they were under a Fascist government before the war.

Links:
https://secure.wikimedia.org/w...dia/en/wiki/Italian_Fascism
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Third_reich

It's not extremism to the "extremists".

Just keep that in mind as y'all go crazy with the debating and flaming that's bound to happen in the comments here.