Thursday, May 3, 2007

Sharing the Hate: Southern Poverty Law Center Report

Sharing the Hate
Video-Sharing Websites Become Extremist Venue
By Brentin Mock

Los Angeles blacks are destroying property and attacking white people as a soft, pitiful ballad plays in the background. Then, about two minutes into the video, the words "Whose Freedom?" appear as a still frame of a young, smiling German girl at a Third Reich rally suddenly replaces the footage of the 1992 Rodney King riots. A man wearing a swastika armband stands protectively behind her, his head cropped from the frame, while the words, "A paradise lost," scroll down beneath her chin. Finally, a message, "Save the White Race," fills the screen before dissolving into a Celtic cross encircled by the phrase, "White Pride World Wide."

NSM International, a recruiting arm of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement, produced this video, probably at a cost of just a few dollars. But despite its amateurish nature, its makers are getting a big bang for their buck, thanks to YouTube, the red-hot video-sharing website that allows anyone with a camera phone or digital camcorder to upload for free their videos. The NSM video is now available to millions of people.


Questioned last December by the Intelligence Report about NSM videos on YouTube, NSM Commander Jeff Schoep claimed: "The effectiveness of the NSM and its growth speaks for itself. We use many tools." Schoep also complained that civil rights groups were pressuring YouTube to remove "all so-called racist content."

Actually, YouTube already bans "hate speech," defined as "slurs or the malicious use of stereotypes intended to attack or demean a particular gender, sexual orientation, race, religion or nationality." But the sheer volume of video files posted to the site each day makes it practically impossible to police all content. As a result, particular videos are normally only removed as a result of a user complaint.

"We remove the offending content and send users a warning notice for violating our terms of use," says Jennifer Nielsen, marketing manager for YouTube. "Users who repeatedly violate our terms of use have their accounts terminated, all of their videos removed and they are permanently banned from YouTube."


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