Anti-Muslim Hate Amplified by Fake Online Accounts

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(pic via Huffington Post)

Published by CJ Werleman Independent, a crowdfunded investigative journalism project that seeks to expose and end Western injustices against Muslims. Please SUPPORT his fight against injustice by clicking here.

Fake online accounts, otherwise known as social media bots, are being deployed to spread and amplify anti-Muslim discrimination, according a to a new study published by the anti-racism non-profit Hope Not Hate.

Researchers from the social justice advocacy group tracked a number of Twitter accounts associated with a cadre of anti-Muslim activists, and/or those commonly associated with the Islamophobia Industry, and found that automated or semi-automated accounts are automatically retweeting/sharing their content/posts.

For instance, and as noted in The Guardian, tweets posted by the rabidly anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller were amplified by more than 100 bots, which, in turn, help spread her hateful message and increase her follower count.

“The growth among Twitter accounts and websites spreading anti-Muslim hate is alarming. In such a key area of public interest, it is an indication of increased interest in these views and, as each account or site grows, more people are exposed to deeply prejudiced anti-Muslim views,” Patrik Hermansson, a researcher for Hope Not Hate told The Guardian.

Sacha Saeen, an online activist who tracks the Islamophobic New Atheist movement, also observed how fake bots are helping disseminate the social media posts of well-known anti-Muslim activists:

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Notably these automated bots are dramatically increasing the social media followings of prominent anti-Muslim bigots in the aftermath of “Islamic” terrorist attacks. For instance, Tommy Robinson, former leader of the English Defence League (EDL), gained nearly 30,000 new followers within 48 hours of the Manchester attack, according to the report.

“The aftermath of the London Bridge attack in June was used to illustrate how anti-Muslim activists took advantage, with 32 of the top 100 most shared tweets about the attack expressing negative sentiments about Muslims,” notes Mark Townsend.

All in all, this is yet another terrifying thread in an already terrifying trend towards far right ultranationalism, one that posits Muslims as a threat to Western democratic values.

Social media platforms are being mobilized by far right groups, white nationalists, and white supremacists to agitate, mobilize, and recruit vulnerable young people to their cause, one that seeks to eradicate Muslims from Western societies.

“Muslims are like cockroaches. An infestation that needs to be eradicated. Immediately. Permanently”, reads the tweet posted by one far right activist, a tweet that was retweeted by hundreds of automated bots, thus helping to not only amplify, but also normalize anti-Muslim hate.

It took the Nazis almost 10 years of portraying Jews and Judaism as hostile to Western or German values, and as a demographic threat writ large before the mainstream population was pacified into coopting the slaughter, but it’s safe to presume Hitler and his henchmen might’ve got to doorsteps of the “Final Solution” in half the time had they the benefit of the Internet, social media, and an army of online bots.

We know from modern history that from far-right populism comes far-right militancy. A spike in hate crimes against Muslims in Europe and the United Kingdom not only speaks to that, but also to the fact that far right, anti-Muslim military-style training camps are now being set up across Europe, with one group now boasting chapters in France, Italy, Germany and Austria.

“Embracing violent, total solutions is only taking it one step further,” warns Julia Ebner, author of The Rage: the Vicious Circle of Islamist and Far Right extremism, inferring that a return of the unthinkable is not so unimaginable in today’s Europe.

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Columnist for Middle East Eye. Host of Channel The Rage. Activist against Islamophobia. Read more about CJ here: www.patreon.com/cjwerleman

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