New far-right code words emerge on social media

Hate groups are using commonly-used terms to camouflage racist discussions online


Far-right social media users in the US are adopting a new form of hate-slang to refer to Jews, Muslims, Mexicans and other minority groups.

Jews are being referred to as “Skypes”, African-Americans are labelled “Googles”, Latinos are described as “Yahoos”, while Muslims are called “Skittles”.

These phrases are believed to have been adopted to circumvent Googles’ new anti-racism technology.

Conversation AI, launched last month, was developed by a subsidiary of Google called Jigsaw. Its aim, as described in a September interview with Wired given by Jared Cohen, Jigsaw’s CEO, is “to use the best technology we have at our disposal to begin to take on trolling and other nefarious tactics that give hostile voices disproportionate weight.”

It does this by tracking words traditionally associated with abuse, such as k*** for Jews, n***** for African-Americans and Sp** for Latinos. Comments on online forums including these words can then be deleted.

The response by the online far-right, also known as the alt-right, has been to use words that are used far too generally to be tracked in such a fashion.

Some of the words have been chosen for a reason; Jews are described as “Skypes” because of the word’s sound similarity to the antisemitic k*** insult.

Muslims are called “Skittles” in reference to the recent tweet by Donald Trump Jr, showing a bowlful of the popular sweets which said: “If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? That's our Syrian refugee problem."

The new code was published on 4chan, the anonymous comment site, three weeks ago. The new slang was called “Operation Google”, a double reference to the online search engine and a new, pejorative label for African-Americans.

The code has since been spotted on social media, with people tweeting phrases such as “Kill the googles, gas the skypes” and “The Skypes will pay for their lies.”

In June it was reported that Neo-Nazis were identifying Jews by putting three brackets around their names on social media. Thousands of social media users, Jewish and otherwise, attempted to neutralise the move by appropriating the hate symbol and putting their own names in parentheses.

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