White supremacists, anti-Semites and homophobes have found an effective vehicle for spewing hatred and helping to recruit others to their often violent organizations, according to a new report by a Jewish human rights group.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, named for the renowned Nazi hunter, found that social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and YouTube are being used by hatemongers to perpetuate their rhetoric.
"Every aspect of the Internet is being used by extremists of every ilk to repackage old hatred, demean the 'Enemy,' to raise funds and since 9/11, recruit and train Jihadist terrorists," the center said in a statement.
There are more than 10,000 “problematic Web sites, social networking groups, portals, blogs, chat rooms, videos and hate games on the Internet which promote racial violence, anti-Semitism, homophobia, hate music and terrorism,” the center concluded.
"Digital terrorism and hate" is being amplified by the likes of a Facebook group named "Death to gays," in Croatian, to a YouTube video of a Koran being burned and various Web sites promoting militant groups such as Hezbollah, the Taliban, al-Qaeda and Colombia's FARC, Reuters News reports.
Officials of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which has been monitoring Internet hate for the past decade, told Reuters that Facebook has been promising to omit hate groups that violate terms of usage, "but with over 200 million users, online bigots have to date outpaced efforts to remove them."
Said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center: "The main social networkers understand they have a problem," Cooper told Reuters. "The company that's tried to do its best so far has been Facebook, yet we've seen that sometimes your best isn't enough to eliminate a problem."
But even if the most popular networking sites are diligent in forcing out the haters, extremist groups are rapidly setting up shop on the Net. “New Saxon,” for example, describes itself as "a Social Networking site for people of European descent"; it is produced by an American Neo-Nazi group called the National Socialist Movement. Others include such drabble as “Border Patrol,” an online social-networking game, in which players get to shoot Mexicans, including women and children who cross the border into the United States, Reuters reports.