A new report on the threat posed by extreme-right youth groups has found that young activists are evading social media firms’ clampdowns on hate to recruit others to their movements.
Findings were unveiled Tuesday by the Community Security Trust and researchers at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence at King’s College.
According to the CST, a number of the groups studied have “actively and explicitly incited violence against the Jewish community, claiming to aim to bring about ‘clean world’, ‘rid of the plagues of the Jew’’.
“Tracking 10 recent extreme-right youth groups over a long period of time, we have been struck by the unique ways in which young extremists are recruiting from mainstream social media, often using youth-centric messaging,” said the report’s co-author Hannah Rose.
She warned that “security services must not underestimate the agency and threat which the young extreme-right pose.”
Analysts explored the activities of 10 extreme-right youth groups that have emerged across western Europe since 2018, including the Feuerkrieg Division and the Sonnenkrieg Division, which are both banned in the UK.
Researchers found that a majority of the groups - which all have an average membership under the age of 25 - have an Instagram presence and are using it as a recruitment tool.
Twitter, TikTok and Telegram are also allegedly being used by the groups to radicalise their peers.
According to the report, young activists are making content geared towards young people containing racist and antisemitic views, conspiracy theories and some occasional incitements to violence.
The groups are able to get around bans by creating multiple accounts and directing online users towards sites with more permissive content rules, researchers found.
A spokesperson for Instagram’s parent company, Meta, said the firm has a ban on people and groups involved in terrorism or organised hate.
Meta said it had removed over two million pieces of terrorist and organised hate content from Instagram this year, with over 99 per cent detected before any reports were made.
“We’ll review this new report thoroughly and remove anything that breaks our rules,” the spokesperson said.
Meta said that it was aware that the “methods used by these groups are always evolving, which is why we evolve too.”
“Our team of over 350 counterterrorism specialists work with experts around the world to help us adapt to new trends and adversarial shifts in behaviour, both online and offline,” the spokesperson said.
The JC understands that Twitter is reviewing the report and has requested details of accounts and tweets referenced and has plans to take action on any material found to violate its rules on threatening or promoting terrorism.
TikTok and Telegram were approached for comment.