Instagram (still) has a big problem with Nazis and white supremacists

Despite taking significant steps to remove hateful content, hundreds of posts promoting dangerous white supremacist ideologies are still readily available on Instagram where they could radicalize unsuspecting users, new research shows.

The Anti Defamation League’s Center on Extremism searched for terms on Instagram related to white supremacist and neo-Nazi movements, quickly uncovering hundreds of accounts sharing extremist propaganda.

The posts included references to “accelerationism,” an extremist ideology cited in the manifestos of mass shooters whose goal is to quicken the destruction of Western governments by fomenting chaos and tension.

Starting with the keyword “Atomwaffen,” ADL researchers were able to find and view five Instagram posts containing content linked to Atomwaffen Division, an accelerationist group created in 2016.

Members of the group were arrested in 2020 and sentenced for threatening activists and journalists. It disbanded that same year but may be active again and spreading propaganda on social media, according to the ADL research.

►Militias on Facebook:New Mexico DA sues unauthorized militia group, then goes after Facebook for records to prove his case

►Facebook is losing a key demographic:Black people use Facebook more than anyone. Now they’re leaving.

Only one of the five posts had been removed by Wednesday afternoon, according to the ADL.

Meta Platforms, which owns Instagram and Facebook, said it was reviewing the content to see if it violates its policies. The Atomwaffen Division, which is designated as a terrorist organization, has been banned from Instagram since 2018, but Instagram remains vigilant because extremist groups are constantly looking for new ways to evade detection, the company said.

By searching for accounts that follow those five, researchers quickly discovered 50 more accounts sharing white supremacist content, including posts with neo-Nazi symbolism such as swastikas or SS bolts. Tracking followers of those accounts, they found more than 200 accounts, which promoted other white supremacist themes.

Researchers say there are signs of coordination, with many of the accounts following or being followed by one another.

Among the posts are a video of individuals wearing skull face masks giving the Nazi salute, footage of a speech with audio from Joseph Goebbels, propaganda minister for the Nazi Party, and images of a gay pride flag being burned. An account with 10,000 followers links to a Twitter account and a merchandise site.

“Today, there is no distinction between our online and offline lives. We’ve seen over and over again the ways hateful content online leads to deadly violence in our communities,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of ADL, said in prepared remarks for a Capitol Hill hearing Thursday shared with USA TODAY. “Poway. El Paso. Pittsburgh. These targeted mass shootings were motivated by extremist conspiracy theories online.”

Instagram does not always block hashtags related to banned organizations because it limits counter speech or legitimate speech, according to Meta Platforms. For example, the hashtag “atomwaffen,” which means nuclear weapons in English, is used by people in Germany to advocate against nuclear weapons. But Instagram does block hashtags that are connected to a high percentage of content that violates its rules.

“We’ve made progress in keeping this type of hate off of our platforms – banning over 270 white supremacist organizations, removing over 2.3 million pieces of content tied to organized hate globally from our platforms in the third quarter of 2021 and reducing the prevalence of hate speech to 0.02% of content viewed on Instagram,” company spokesperson Liza Crenshaw said in a statement.

Marc-André Argentino, a researcher at the International Center for Counter Terrorism in Montreal, who studies how extremists leverage technology to spread their messages, wasn’t surprised that posts like these still exist on Instagram.

The challenge for technology platforms is to implement rules that effectively filter out hateful content that violates their terms of service, without inadvertently banning other content that is acceptable, Argentino said.

Instagram (still) has a big problem with Nazis and white supremacists

“There’s not going to be a human that’s going to look at every Atomwaffen account,” Argentino said. “If you ban, say, the term ‘AWD,’ well, someone trying to sell an All Wheel Drive car is going to get dinged.”

But Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, was more skeptical. She said a massive company like Meta Platforms should be investing in large-scale human content moderation to stamp out harmful content like the posts ADL so easily found.

“If the ADL can send a couple researchers out to dig on Instagram and find a bunch of Nazi accounts, there’s no excuse for Instagram,” Beirich said. “When you make billions of dollars a year and you commit yourself to getting this stuff off your platform, but a researcher can find it with some searches, there’s something wrong with your system.”

News Related


Taylor Swift Slams Damon Albarn Over Claim She Doesn't Write Her Own Songs, Albarn Apologizes

Taylor Swift issued a response on Twitter to Damon Albarn, the “Blur” frontman and “Gorillaz” co-creator who claimed in a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times that Swift does ... Read more »

Man seen on video throwing a smoothie at employee during tirade faces charges, loses job

A Connecticut man was criminally charged and lost his job after he was seen in a now-viral video yelling at employees who he said made a drink that triggered his ... Read more »

FDA curbs use of antibody drugs sidelined by omicron

WASHINGTON — COVID-19 antibody drugs from Regeneron and Eli Lilly should no longer be used because they are unlikely to work against the omicron variant that now accounts for nearly ... Read more »

No jail for 7 activists charged in protest near Swiss quarry

GENEVA — Seven environmental activists were cleared or given suspended fines Monday on charges of trespassing and resisting arrest for their roles in a protest against expansion of a limestone ... Read more »

At Sundance, documentaries resurrect lost eras of music

The Associated PressThis image shows a scene from the documentary “Meet Me in the Bathroom” by Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern, an official selection of the Midnight section at the ... Read more »

6 puppies stolen from Virginia pet salon; 2 still missing

On Location: January 24, 2022 Catch up on the developing stories making headlines.The Associated Press HAMPTON, Va. — Another newborn husky from a litter of six that was stolen from ... Read more »

Australian reportedly killed when explosive vest detonates

CANBERRA, Australia — Police said on Tuesday they were investigating the death of a man who was reportedly killed when an explosive vest he was wearing detonated while he was ... Read more »

Gonzaga is still No. 1 in USA TODAY Ferris Mowers Men's Basketball Coaches Poll

USA TODAY Sports’ Scott Gleeson breaks down the latest Ferris Mowers college basketball coaches poll. Read more »

Intel might have a plan to keep up with Moore's Law

Intel is a company in a spot of bother: TSMC, Apple, and other rivals are outpacing its chip technology and Moore’s Law – literally created by Intel’s founder – is ... Read more »

Pentagon puts 8,500 troops on 'heightened alert'

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has put up to 8,500 troops on heightened alert, so they will be prepared to deploy if needed to reassure NATO allies in the face of ... Read more »

‘William Heavy' is the Latino TikTok star promoting body positivity in viral videos

“It’s a blessing to at least help one person feel happy,” Ricardino "Rico" Alvarez said. Read more »

Save on TVs, headphones, home appliances and more at Best Buy's Presidents' Day sale

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. Presidents’ Day is officially observed on Monday, February 21, but several ... Read more »

New space telescope reaches final stop

The world’s most powerful space telescope arrives at its observation post 1 million miles from Earth, a month after it lifted off on a quest to behold the dawn of ... Read more »

Canada's men's team sets roster for 3 World Cup qualifiers

The Canada men’s soccer team will have players from 11 different countries for three crucial World Cup qualifiers. Canada, ranked No. 40, faces a challenging schedule with three matches in ... Read more »

Brandon Tanev taking on new role with Kraken during recovery

SEATTLE (AP) — With his relentless energy, frenetic playing style and a history of goofy headshots, Brandon Tanev quickly became the fan favorite on the Seattle Kraken’s inaugural roster. Even ... Read more »

I bought dollar store earbuds just to see how good they sounded

I knew when I was standing in the checkout line that the Ear Buds I was buying weren’t going to be good – but I thought maybe, just maybe, they’d ... Read more »

Happy Birthday, Macintosh, you weren't a sure thing

I don’t remember the day the Macintosh launched. On January 24, 1984, I was still in college, consumed with papers, tests, grades, finding a way to speak to that girl ... Read more »

Vancouver Canucks make Emilie Castonguay the franchise's first female assistant general manager

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — The Vancouver Canucks have hired former player agent Emilie Castonguay to be assistant general manager, making her the first female assistant GM in franchise history. ... Read more »

Tidy up your home with this huge Bed Bath & Beyond organization sale—save 25% now

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. Have a big cleaning project you’ve been meaning to tackle? Bed ... Read more »

AP Top Stories January 24 P

Here’s the latest for Monday, January 24: 8.500 US troops put on heightened alert; Detroit-area school reopens after shooting; One dead in shooting at German university; New space telescope reaches ... Read more »

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope reaches new home a million miles from Earth

After a nail-biting 29 days of travel and ultra-precise deployments, the James Webb Space Telescope fired its thrusters one more time Monday to reach its final parking spot a million ... Read more »

Opinion: Chiefs-Bills masterpiece decided on a coin flip shows NFL's overtime rule is awful and must be fixed

It was the worst possible ending to the best NFL playoff game ever. Over the last 20 minutes of regulation, Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen played the quarterback equivalent of ... Read more »

Get a souped-up screen for Super Bowl 56 with Samsung TV deals at Amazon, Walmart and more

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. We’re less than three weeks away from Super Bowl 56 and ... Read more »

Coastal California wildfire near Big Sur at 35% containment; Highway 1 remains closed in both directions

A wildfire stoked by strong offshore winds and dry conditions near California’s picturesque Big Sur coastline was 35% contained on Monday, fire officials said. The fire’s estimated size was reduced ... Read more »

The best credit card for travel has a $750 welcome offer and sweet grocery perks

— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you sign up for a credit card after clicking one of our links, we ... Read more »

Movement in MLB lockout? League, players association meet for two hours, will bargain again Tuesday

The two sides argued Monday, and the meeting was contentious at times, but there was at least a scent of optimism Monday that the Major League Baseball season, perhaps even ... Read more »

Taylor Swift slams Blur frontman's claim that she doesn't write her own songs as false and 'so damaging'

The pop star responded to comments made about her in a Los Angeles Times interview with Blur's Damon Albarn. Read more »

Even more WordPress themes have serious security backdoors

A recently discovered supply chain attack has reportedly left more than 300,000 WordPress sites at risk of attack. Cybersecurity researchers from Jetpack (a security and optimization tool for WordPress) found ... Read more »

Sign up for Crowd Cow meat deliveries and get $100 off your first 10 boxes—here's how

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. There’s plenty of meal kits to choose from, and with current ... Read more »

WH on SCOTUS and race in college admissions case

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says the president beileves in “diversity in higher education” when asked about the conservative-dominated Supreme Court agreeing to hear a challenge to the consideration ... Read more »

WH 'refining plans for all scenarios' in Ukraine

The White House says it’s consulting allies and “refining plans for all scenarios” amid growing concerns that Moscow is planning to invade Ukraine. Meanwhile, the Pentagon announces it’s putting some ... Read more »

This epic TikTok sleep hack aims to help you fall asleep in 2 minutes

If you have trouble falling asleep you’re not alone, and right now on TikTok a sleep technique is going viral as a way to help you drop off fast. The ... Read more »

Opko, Freeport-McMoRan fall; Kohl's, Unilever rise

Stocks that traded heavily or had substantial price changes Monday: Kohl’s Corp., up $16.87 to $63.71. The department store chain said it’s received buyout offers after reports of interest from ... Read more »

Canucks hire first woman assistant GM in ex-agent Castonguay

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — The Vancouver Canucks have hired former player agent Emilie Castonguay to be assistant general manager, making her the first female assistant GM in franchise history. ... Read more »

Opinion: What's next for Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers? Why legacy questions might guide QBs' decisions

As the dust settles from one of the most electrifying divisional rounds in recent memory, two of the NFL’s most iconic figures find themselves at a crossroads. Tom Brady and ... Read more »

Pufferfish has emergency dental work after teeth grow so big she can't eat

Goldie the porcupine pufferfish was losing weight and was at risk of starving because of her giant teeth. (SWNS) A fish had to be rushed to an animal dentists to ... Read more »

Did eating meat make us human? New research casts some doubt

The findings add nuance to the “meat made us human” hypothesis and may be of interest to people who base their diet on the idea early humans were especially reliant on meat. Read more »

Obsessed with Wordle? Here are 10 similar games to play

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. A few weeks ago, several of my friends started posting strange ... Read more »

Recipe: Stop throwing out your pasta water

The Associated PressThis image released by Milk Street shows a recipe for Gemelli w/Tomatoes, Salami and Fontina. (Milk Street via AP) GEMELLI WITH TOMATOES, SALAMI AND FONTINA Talk to the ... Read more »

Stone-throwing settlers drive through Palestinian village

The Associated PressA Palestinian man stands by a car he said Jewish settlers had vandalized slashing its tires and spray painting it with the Jewish Star of David and Hebrew ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic