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  • In America, far-right extremism...

  • ...is now considered a greater domestic threat...

  • ...than Islamist terrorism

  • And he start shooting, like everyone

  • And across the world...

  • ...a growing number oflone actors”...

  • ...with no traditional links to terrorist organisations...

  • ...are prepared to attack...

  • ...and kill for their beliefs

  • I started to build this hateful mindset of just going out there and...

  • ...killing people

  • What's causing this spread of extremist ideology?

  • Like a virus...

  • ...right-wing extremism has mutated in unpredictable ways

  • We have seen some of the extremist channels...

  • ...explode in terms of their membership

  • And what can be done to stop hateful words...

  • ...from becoming deadly actions?

  • When the Christchurch attacker walked into the Al Noor Mosque...

  • ... in March 2019

  • he wasn't just carrying firearms

  • He was also equipped with far-right extremism's latest weapon...

  • ...a helmet cam...

  • ...connected to a Facebook live-stream

  • Nearly 200 watched his murderous attack live...

  • ...with many quickly replicating and sharing the footage...

  • ...within hours it had gone viral

  • Police are investigating reports that...

  • ...an attacker live-streamed their actions

  • The terrorist of Christchurch really had...

  • ...a very strategic campaign in mind

  • Unfortunately, his methods were really effective because...

  • ...it was recycled in these online far-right communities...

  • ...as propaganda materials to recruit from young audiences...

  • ...from gaming audiences

  • Because they made video-game versions of it...

  • ...they made glorifying memes and visuals...

  • ...from his materials that he had posted online

  • And that was then used to inspire future attacks

  • The Christchurch attack...

  • ...revealed just how much the far right has evolved...

  • ...since the days of the Ku Klux Klan

  • Rather than having formal ties to a specific localised group or party...

  • ...the Christchurch attacker was part of a loose global community

  • of online extremists

  • And therefore considered a lone actor

  • One of the most difficult types of terrorist...

  • ...for security services to detect

  • When you have...

  • ...a kid who knows how to use a VPN...

  • ...to disguise their internet connection...

  • ...sitting in front of their computer...

  • ...these individuals self-radicalise...

  • ...get themselves some kind of a weapon and...

  • it's just really hard to trace

  • You know it's one actor with no obvious connection...

  • ...to any particular group you're monitoring

  • A report by the New Zealand Royal Commission...

  • ...found the Christchurch attacker

  • was radicalised by content on YouTube...

  • ...and other online platforms

  • But it's not just social-media channels...

  • ...that provide a platform for far-right extremists

  • They've also used online gaming forums...

  • ...to promote transnational racial ideas...

  • ...like the Great Replacement...

  • ...a conspiracy theory that states that whites are being supplanted...

  • ...by non-white populations

  • Many right-wing extremists...

  • ...feel that they're fighting what is essentially a defensive war...

  • ...in which they are the victims

  • And they are...

  • ...fighting against...

  • ...people who would replace them with...

  • ...a grand multicultural race or some other dominant race

  • A recent study from Cybersecurity for Democracy...

  • ...found that far-right accounts are more successful...

  • ...than other kinds of accounts at getting likes, shares...

  • ...and other forms of user engagement

  • What attracts us most or what captivates our attention...

  • ...has still not changed from a few hundred years ago...

  • ...when we liked to watch bloody fights between gladiators or...

  • ...witches being hung

  • We like radical and bloody content

  • We like incredible content

  • We like conspiracy theories

  • And that means that radical groups have a much easier time...

  • ...to spread their messages online than moderate groups

  • Social-media algorithms have so far worked in the favour...

  • ...of far-right extremists...

  • ...keen to share their ideology

  • Since the early days of the internet...

  • ...far-right extremists have been responsible...

  • ...for around 700 terrorist attacks worldwide

  • And from 2015 to 2019...

  • ...the number of far-right attacks has grown to over 60 every year

  • And the number of younger extremists has been growing

  • In Britain alone...

  • ...numbers of 15-to 20-year-olds...

  • ...referred to the government's counter-terrorism programme...

  • ...Prevent, over suspected far-right involvement...

  • ...have soared to well over 400 every year since 2017

  • The advent of digital culture has given right-wing extremists...

  • ...a really unparalleled tool for recruitment

  • They can now reach directly...

  • ...into the homes of...

  • ...really young kids and...

  • ...hook them with a form of propaganda that is very much...

  • ...influenced by broader digital culture

  • Some groups have even been led by teenagers...

  • ...such as the 13-year-old Estonian boy...

  • ...nicknamedCommander”...

  • ...who was one of the heads of the neo-Nazi Feuerkrieg Division

  • And in February this year...

  • ...a British 16-year-old boy...

  • ...was sentenced for terrorism offences...

  • ...having led an online neo-Nazi group

  • During the pandemic...

  • ...online far-right internet activity boomed

  • Between March and April of 2020...

  • ...membership of sites that discuss the Boogaloo, a term used by extremists...

  • ...to describe an impending civil war...

  • ...doubled to over 72,000

  • As conspiracy theories spread...

  • ...the UN warned that right-wing extremists...

  • ...were using covid-19 related disinformation...

  • ...to radicalise, fundraise and inspire attacks

  • We have seen some of the extremist channels explode...

  • ...in terms of the membership...

  • ...because people have been more fearful...

  • ...also more lonely, often sitting at home...

  • ...and spending their late evenings or weekends...

  • ...in some of the communities where extremist groups recruit from

  • Freedom, freedom, freedom

  • Before the pandemic...

  • ...those on the fringes of the mainstream right...

  • ...were fairly distinct from conspiracy theorists...

  • ...and members of the far-right

  • But worryingly, disaffection with governments...

  • ...over their handling of covid-19...

  • ...has opened up some common ground

  • The pandemic has thrown together...

  • ...both online and in these anti-lockdown protests...

  • ...groups that would maybe not...

  • ...have previously been exposed to one another

  • And the far-right extremists are able to use...

  • ...both the conspiracy theories...

  • ...and the disaffection of these...

  • ...more sort of politically mainstream individuals...

  • ...as a recruitment tool, again collapsing the difference between...

  • ...what they believe and what the other groups believe

  • Tech companies have so far been slow to acknowledge their role...

  • ...in providing a platform for far-right extremists

  • Within the past few months...

  • ...Facebook, Twitter and others...

  • ...have started to restrict some groups...

  • ...but deplatforming...

  • ...is not without its problems

  • You might decrease the reach that extremists have...

  • ...but that also means that they move to the smaller fringe platforms...

  • ...where they can share even more radical and violent content...

  • ...because they're not being monitored there

  • One of the biggest challenges for the tech firms...

  • ...and also the security forces is...

  • ...the pace at which far-right extremists move across the internet

  • They're really good at circumventing new policies...

  • ...that platforms introduce

  • They still manage to build up their own safe havens

  • Another tech solution being developed...

  • ...is automatic software...

  • ...that directs those searching for extremist content...

  • ...towards alternative narratives

  • While these tools could derail some paths to radicalisation...

  • ...state-level solutions...

  • ...co-ordinated between governments...

  • ...may be needed to bring about effective change

  • If there was something like a global...

  • ...approach to really tackling far-right extremism...

  • ...that would be really helpful because online...

  • ...borders don't really matter...

  • ...and if one government imposes...

  • ...a restriction on far-right-extremist content...

  • ...and another one doesn't...

  • ...that means that extremists still can go online...

  • ...and basically spread the ideologies in whatever country they want

  • America has lagged behind other nations in combatting the threat...

  • ...of far-right extremism

  • Unlike Germany or Britain...

  • ...America has no legal mechanism...

  • ...to forbid domestic far-right-extremist groups...

  • ...and individuals cannot be prosecuted for being part of them

  • Despite these challenges...

  • ...there are laws that could be used to target...

  • ...potential domestic terrorists

  • Yet some believe...

  • ...there has been a lack of political will to enforce them

  • It's not always the case...

  • ...that a particular government in power will have...

  • preventing far-right extremism...

  • ...as the top of their list of priorities

  • Freedom-of-speech laws in America...

  • ...mean that unlike in many other countries...

  • ...even hate speech is protected

  • And this leniency has had global repercussions

  • The US really matters here because...

  • ...a lot of tech firms that host far-right-extremist content...

  • ...are based in the US

  • So they determine basically...

  • ...what is being taken offline globally

  • Left to self-regulate...

  • ...many tech companies have resisted...

  • ...fully enforcing even their own rules...

  • ...to restrict extremist content

  • But there are some promising signs

  • Facebook's removal of hate speech...

  • ...has risen eightfold...

  • ...in just the past two years

  • And it recently announced it was stopping algorithms...

  • ...recommending political groups to users

  • However, even in the best-case scenario...

  • ...the internet will continue to be an effective tool...

  • ...in radicalising and recruiting more people worldwide

  • Every attack feeds the beast

  • This culture that they have of mythologising...

  • ...those who perpetrated these atrocities...

  • ...merely inspires more and...

  • ...unless something is done to...

  • ...stem the flow of people...

  • ...disaffected and susceptible to recruitment...

  • ...more will be radicalised and we'll see more attacks

  • When President Biden took office in January...

  • ...he claimed that tackling far-right extremism was a priority

  • A rise of white supremacy...

  • ...domestic terrorism...

  • ...that we must confront and we will defeat

  • But details so far have been lacking

  • In March...

  • ...a joint intelligence paper...

  • ...said that racially motivated extremism was...

  • ...the biggest threat facing America

  • But how the administration intends to tackle the problem remains...

  • ...unclear at this point

  • Experts agree...

  • ...especially in light of hardships brought about by the pandemic...

  • ...there's no time to lose

  • I do think it's hugely important that policymakers now look at...

  • ...the population segments that are...

  • ...the hardest hit by the crisis...

  • in order to prevent them from being lured...

  • ...into extremist networks...

  • ...so that we can provide them with alternative solutions...

  • ...before the extremists do

  • I'm Andrew Knox

  • …a news editor for The Economist

  • To read more of our coverage, click the link

  • Thanks very much for watching

In America, far-right extremism...

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