by Melissa Ryan
The trolls are pissed off about Ctrl Alt-Right Delete. I’ve always had a fair amount of trolling on social media but lately, it’s been turbocharged. The secret about our newsletter is out, and they’re mad. Which is why my Twitter mentions (and HOPE not hate’s) are a dumpster fire. Some days the abuse is draining, other days it’s pretty funny, but I take it as evidence that the work we do is having an impact.
The newsletter reaches more than 15,000 readers each week. Our readers include policy-makers, journalists, academics, grassroots activists, technologists, and concerned citizens in the U.S. and abroad. The weekly analytics tell me that readers are also highly engaged with our content. CARD’s average open rate is still over 20%, and our total open rate open rate average is 25%. The stats suggest that many readers revisit the newsletter over the course of their week, which is especially gratifying.
While exploring options for a membership program, it was important to me that we gave paying supporters more of what they wanted from us. Patreon is the perfect platform for this. It allows us to easily create and distribute exclusive content just for paying members and offers a variety of options for financial support. Plus they get brownie points for not allowing extremists to monetize on their platform any longer.
Patreon members will receive even more original content from me and the CARD team. Some examples:
- A weekly Patreon post of additional ICYMI links curated just for members.
- Exclusive access to a short, transatlantic, twice monthly podcast from me and the HOPE not hate team.
- A quarterly interactive call for members with me and a senior researcher from the HOPE not hate team. The first call is April 1 at 7 PM ET.
A few minor but important details: You membership will be paid to HOPE not hate, which pays me to write and edit the newsletter. Because HOPE not hate is a UK-based non-profit contributions are not tax deductible. If you donated to us in 2018, you’ll be eligible for all of the donor calls this year, but we’d still love to have you join us on Patreon as well.
I want to thank you for subscribing. Whether you’re a longtime reader or a new subscriber I’m happy to have you as part of the CARD community. It’s because of your continued interest that we continue to produce new editions with original research, analysis, and commentary week after week. Thank you.
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© Featured image courtesy of Flickr, onnola.
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Tommy’s Social Media Meltdown
By Simon Murdoch
On Tuesday British far-right extremist Tommy Robinson (AKA Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) was dealt a major blow to his ability to propagate hate after his private and public Facebook and accounts, as well as his Instagram account, were deleted. This follows Lennon considerable growth and international support in 2018, especially from the US.
In a statement, Facebook said that Lennon had repeatedly broken its standards on the basis of “posting material that uses dehumanizing language and calls for violence targeted at Muslims”, as well as “behaved in ways that violate our policies around organized hate”.
HOPE not hate has long campaigned against Lennon and welcome this decision. As our Director, Nick Lowles, explained in The Huffington Post following the ban, not only will this have an impact on his ability to spread hate, it will also affect his ability to fund his activities. Lennon’s Facebook page had 1,080,000 followers and 996,300 likes, his posts regularly hit more than 10,000 shares, and on one occasion he managed to collect as much as £100,000 through the site’s charity donation tool.
Backpacking to CPAC
By Charlie Prentice
Conspiracy theorists, anti-Muslim activists and pick-up artists; we take a look at the international figures heading to the US for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
- Preliminary results from a new study led by Nicolas Suzor, an associate professor at Queensland University of Technology, appear to show YouTube has reduced recommendations to a host of alt-right and alt-right linked accounts. Throughout February, the study analyzed channels identified by Data & Society’s Rebecca Lewis, and found that video recommendations from at least one of these dropped from 7.8% roughly 1/13) to 0.4% (1/250) after 15 February.
- A new report from the UK’s Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats examines an interesting phenomenon, namely “why do some ‘extremists’ or ‘extremist groups’ choose not to engage in violence, or only in particular forms of violence? Why is it that even in deeply violent groups there are often thresholds of violence that members rarely if ever cross?”
- Real Black Activists Worry Fake Ones Will Drown Them Out On Twitter (Buzzfeed)
- U.S. Cyber Command operation disrupted Internet access of Russian troll factory on day of 2018 midterms (Washington Post)
- Twitter suspends conservative activist Jacob Wohl after he admitted to making fake accounts (NBC News)
- While YouTube and Facebook fumble, Pinterest is reducing health misinformation in ways that actually make sense (Nieman Lab)
- The Proud Boys. A Republican Party Street Gang (Political Research Associates)
- The secret lives of Facebook moderators in America (The Verge)
Want even more links? Support us on Patreon to receive a second ICYMI Patreon post just for CARD members.
I’m quoted in a Kelly Weill article for The Daily Beast, talking about Tommy Robinson’s (AKA Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) social media footprint and the impact Facebook’s ban will have on his ability to amplify hateful messages online.
“I wouldn’t call this ban a mortal wound for Robinson’s ability to spread hate but it is absolutely a huge blow. He’s already been banned from Paypal and Twitter,” Ryan said. “YouTube is the only platform he has left and he can’t even run ads on his content there anymore. So his ability to spread hate and profit from it has been curbed generally. And with Facebook and Instagram he’s lost his largest amplification network.”
Iowa Readers: Come see me at The Future of US Politics: Looking Ahead to 2020at the University of Iowa, Wednesday, March 27, 2019 – 7:00pm to 9:00pm. “Join us for a thoughtful discussion of politics in the United States and the future of the Democratic and Republican parties from left, right and analytical perspectives. Featuring Melissa Ryan of Ctrl Alt-Right Delete, Chris Buskirk of American Greatness, and Tamara Keith of NPR.”
That’s all for this week! Until next time…