Ten publishers are responsible for 69% of digital climate change denial content on Facebook, a new study from the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) has found. The outlets, which the report labels the “toxic ten”, include several conservative websites in the US, as well as Russian state media.
- Breitbart, a far-right news site once run by former Trump strategist Steve Bannon
- Western Journal, a Conservative news site
- Newsmax, which has previously been sued for promoting election fraud conspiracies
- Townhall Media, founded by the Exxon-funded Heritage Foundation
- Media Research Center, a “thinktank” that received funding from Exxon
- Washington Times, founded by self-proclaimed messiah Sun Myung Moon
- The Federalist Papers, a site that has promoted Covid misinformation
- Daily Wire, a conservative news site that is of the most engaged-with publishers on Facebook
- Russian state media, pushing disinformation via RT.com and Sputnik News
- Patriot Post, a conservative site whose writers use pseudonyms
Experts say the public deserves to see the list, a clear embodiment of US foreign policy priorities that could disproportionately censor marginalized groups.
“The lists seem to create two disparate systems, with the heaviest penalties applied to heavily Muslim regions and communities,” Patel wrote in an email to The Intercept. The differences in demographic composition between Tiers 1 and 3 “suggests that Facebook — like the U.S. government — considers Muslims to be the most dangerous.” By contrast, Patel pointed out, “Hate groups designated as Anti-Muslim hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center are overwhelmingly absent from Facebook’s lists.”
Anti-government militias, among those receiving more measured interventions from Facebook, “present the most lethal [domestic violent extremist] threat” to the U.S., intelligence officials concluded earlier this year, a view shared by many nongovernmental researchers. A crucial difference between alleged foreign terror groups and say, the Oath Keepers, is that domestic militia groups have considerable political capital and support on the American right. The Militarized Social Movement entries “do seem to be created in response to more powerful organizations and ethnic groups breaking the rules pretty regularly,” said Ángel Díaz, of UCLA School of Law, “and [Facebook] feeling that there needs to be a response, but they didn’t want the response to be as broad as it was for the terrorism portion, so they created a subcategory to limit the impact on discourse from politically powerful groups.” For example, the extreme-right movement known as “boogaloo,” which advocates for a second Civil War, is considered a Militarized Social Movement, which would make it subject to the relatively lenient Tier 3 rules. Facebook has only classified as Tier 1 a subset of boogaloo, which it made clear was “distinct from the broader and loosely-affiliated boogaloo movement.”
A Facebook spokesperson categorically denied that Facebook gives extremist right-wing groups in the U.S. special treatment due to their association with mainstream conservative politics. They added that the company tiers groups based on their behavior, stating, “Where American groups satisfy our definition of a terrorist group, they are designated as terrorist organizations (E.g. The Base, Atomwaffen Division, National Socialist Order). Where they satisfy our definition of hate groups, they are designated as hate organizations (For example, Proud Boys, Rise Above Movement, Patriot Front).”
The author tweeted »
The heavily restricted “Terrorism” category, which makes up over 50% of the entire list, is almost all of Muslim, South Asian, and Middle Eastern ppl and orgs. Armed right-wing militias in the US are placed in a far more permissive 3rd tier, subject to the lightest restrictions.
— Sam Biddle (@samfbiddle) October 12, 2021
On July 30, 2021, the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto found Kevin J. Johnston in contempt of court for repeatedly and deliberately violating its prior Order prohibiting his hate speech directed at Mohamad Fakih, the CEO and Founder of Paramount Foods. Following a separate sentencing hearing on September 22, 2021, Justice Myers sentenced Johnston to be incarcerated for 18 months beginning on January 4, 2022. (Source » Fakih’s Lawyers)
Kevin J. Johnston has been sentenced to 18 months behind bars for publicly branding Mohamad Fakih a “terrorist” and a “baby killer” after being ordered to stop defaming the Paramount Fine Foods owner two years ago.
The sentence comes after Johnston was charged earlier this year with contempt for continuing to make racist, defamatory statements about Fakih, a Toronto restaurateur and philanthropist, despite an injunction by an Ontario judge in 2019 to stop.
A festival of hate
Rechtsrock is a German term for music that acts as a vehicle for far-right ideology.
A key part of this scene are music festivals that act as key networking hubs for neo-Nazi groups across Europe. Festivals in Ukraine, Italy and Greece feature bands from across the Continent, and there’s a strong scene in Germany, which is home to some of the largest neo-Nazi music festivals in recent years.
One of those festivals, held in the German state of Thuringia, drew in an estimated 5,000 neo-Nazis. It was organised by the Turonen, a violent neo-Nazi gang who were recently targetted in a raid by police where large amounts of cash, weapons and crystal meth were found. These festivals can make organisers hundreds of thousands of euros, which are then pumped back into the neo-Nazi underground scene.
From Athens to Milan to Kiev and beyond, far-right music is a vital cultural weapon for right-wing extremists. And as the far-right music scene looks to make its return after a covid-induced hiatus – all eyes are on the authorities to find ways of dealing with this dark and twisted subculture.