Neo-Nazis are using Instagram to radicalise teenagers

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Neo-Nazis are using Instagram to radicalise teenagers, according to a new report.

In the annual “State of Hate” report, anti-racism campaign group Hope not Hate found that two far-right groups – The British Hand and the National Partisan Movement – are using Instagram to recruit new members. It said the platform’s recommendations and focus on visual media lends itself to spreading propaganda.

Nick Lowles, chief executive of the group called the app “a fertile recruitment ground”.

He said: “Though we continue to warn about niche platforms like Telegraph, a fertile recruitment ground for young neo-Nazis has been Instagram – it’s inadequate moderation and worrying algorithm recommendations are child protection issues that demand urgent action from the platform.”

The report added the coronavirus pandemic has sped up the move of the British far-right from the streets to online.

Lowles added: “The lockdown has had a profound effect on every part of our society and it’s no less the case on the far-right. Traditional organisations were already on the decline but lockdown exacerbated their inactivity.

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“The British far-right is now digitally led and reflective of online culture – traditional structures have given way to social media platforms, influencers and ‘citizen journalists’ creating peer-to-peer radicalisation and a global community willing to crowd source ‘micro-donations’ of time and effort.”

The report comes as three alleged members of The British Hand face trial on terrorism charges. Lowles said half of far-right terror convictions over the last year have been teenagers.

Responding to the report a spokesperson from Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, said the company is committed to removing online hate.

“We do not want hate on our platform and we removed a number of accounts belonging to The British Hand and National Partisan Movement before this report was published,” they said.

“We’ve banned over 250 white supremacist organisations from Facebook and Instagram, and will continue removing content that praises, supports or represents these groups.”

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