Before we get going this week I’d like to take a moment to congratulate our partner, HOPE not hate. What began as a successful attempt to thwart a neo-Nazi plot to murder a member of Parliament ended this week in neo-Nazis going to jail. HOPE not hate has been central to this story for more than a year now – from revealing the plot to the police through to giving evidence in court. You can read more about the case and the trial here.
I’m proud to work with HOPE not hate, and not just because of the amazing work they do for this newsletter each week. Their undercover work against extremism plays an important role in monitoring and confronting far right groups in the UK and the US. This is an organization that lives their values every day, doing the right thing, even when the risks are high. Their work saves lives and helps put Nazis in jail.
Singer and activist Billy Bragg (Yes, really!) has launched a fundraising drive for HOPE not hate on GoFundMe. I made a contribution and I’m urging my readers to do the same. Please join me in supporting HOPE not hate by making a contribution right now.
International Far Right Gather in London for Free Tommy Robinson Demonstration
By HOPE not hate Right Response Team
Last Saturday London played host to a raft of far and radical right leaders from around the world, as pro-Trump demonstrations merged with the “Free Tommy” demos held in support of jailed anti-Muslim extremist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson).
Speakers at the event – which was funded by the American think tank the Middle East Forum (MEF) – included Republican Congressman Paul Gosar, Australian activist Debbie Robinson from the Australian Liberty Alliance, Vlaams Belang’s Filip de Winter, Sweden Democrats’ Kent Ekeroth, Jerome Riviere from Rassemblement National (formerly the Front National) ,UKIP leader Gerard Batten and former Breitbart London editor Raheem Kassam.
Research: Data conclusively debunks the myth of conservative censorship on Facebook
By Melissa Ryan
This week Media Matters released a new study that I worked on and am especially proud of. It conclusively debunks the myth of conservative censorship on Facebook.
- Partisan pages had roughly equal engagement, and they had more engagement than nonpartisan pages: Right-leaning and left-leaning Facebook pages had virtually identical average interaction rates — measurements of a page’s engagement — at .18 percent and .17 percent, respectively, and nonaligned pages had the lowest interaction rates at .08 percent.
- Right-leaning pages in total have a bigger presence on Facebook: Right-leaning Facebook pages had a higher total number of interactions than left-leaning Facebook pages. Right-leaning pages had 23 percent more total interactions than nonaligned pages and 51 percent more total interactions than left-leaning pages. Images shared by right-leaning pages — including memes that frequently include false and bigoted messages — were by far the highest performing content on the Facebook pages examined.
Read the full study here. You can also read my analysis. The study was released in advance of a second House Judiciary Committee hearing that looked into whether Facebook and other major tech platforms are censoring conservative content. For some reason the tech companies sent witnesses to this one.
I wrote a recap of the hearing, complete with video but the gist of it is that Democrats in Congress gave the tech platforms plenty of cover to call out Republican members on their BS. None of them took took it, continuing instead to try and appease the GOP. For now it seems, the GOP will keep demanding Big Tech’s lunch money, and the tech companies will continue to hand it over to them.
- How One of the Internet’s Biggest History Forums Deals With Holocaust Deniers (Slate)
- Undercover Facebook moderator was instructed not to remove fringe groups or hate speech (The Verge)
- Trump Campaigned For President Attacking Immigrants. Here Are All The Ways He’s Done It In Office. (Buzzfeed)
- Alt-Right Troll To Father Killer: The Unraveling Of Lane Davis (Buzzfeed)
- Meet Jonathan Albright, the Digital Sleuth Exposing Fake News (Wired)
- Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook data was accessed from Russia, MP says (CNN)
- Trump the Destroyer (The American Prospect)
- Steve King Is A White Supremacist, And The GOP Doesn’t Care (Huffington Post)
- Steve Bannon’s support for Tommy Robinson shows the far right is dangerously united (New Statesman)