SEATTLE — Investigators say the accused shooter spread his message of hatred online. He livestreamed the terrorist attack and put it on social media before police took it down. Investigators say he also posted a long manifesto on Twitter.
Whether it’s New Zealand, or Pittsburgh, or Charlottesville, hateful acts have led to lives lost.
“We at Anti-Defamation League have been leading efforts to combat cyber hate for years,” said Miri Cypers.
The Anti-Defamation League for the Pacific Northwest Region says that hate often breeds online.
“I think this really speaks to how individuals who carry white supremacist hateful views use the internet and use social media as a tool to amplify and often become radicalized themselves,” said Cypers.
The director for local ADL chapter says dark forces are emerging from the dark web.
“White supremacists are more emboldened than ever before. They used to be hiding in dark websites in the internet where they are having private conversations,” said Cypers.
“Everyone is going to be asking the question: is the internet to blame for this?” said Hanson Hosein.
Hosein is the Director of the Communication Leadership Master’s Program at University of Washington. He believes the web enabled hate groups to come together to share ideas online.
“In this situation, you have a white supremacist. And hate groups who have found each other and they’re giving each other permission to say things they couldn’t ever say in public,” said Hosein. “They are going into the really dark web to share really controversial ideas, hate speech violent videos.”
And through that, Hosein says groups are finding validation and confirming bias.
“They found they have more power, strength in numbers than they ever thought before,” said Hosein.
Many targets of the New Zealand mosque terrorism attacks are immigrants and refugees.
Hosein said what happened in New Zealand is happening all over the world — hateful thoughts often leading to hateful action.
“Keeping out a certain person that doesn’t look like you. It’s happening in Europe, and in the U.S.,” said Hosein. “They’re actually hitting a nerve right now — ‘us and them. We want this to look more like us.'”
There’s a push to track down and combat hate speech online.
“We have a Center for Technology and Society in Silicon Valley that both works with tech companies to push for stricter policies on their platform,” Cypers said. “It’s in incredibly important how we can focus on technology for good and how we can combat these dark forces that are emerging right now in our society.”
The Anti-Defamation League says it brings together Facebook, YouTube and Google to meet and talk about their policies for dealing with hate speech on their platform.
The ADL also says it researches technology like artificial intelligence to better understand the scope of hate speech on social media and how they can better respond to it.