New reports addressing online hate and gun violence

Journalists striving to report causes and solutions without granting notoriety to killers or amplifying their messages.

"The Poway attack seems to be another horrifying entry in a lineage of hate crimes carried out for a captive audience of digital onlookers," according to The New York Times, adding:

"The internet, it seems, has imprinted itself on modern hate crimes, giving its most unstable residents a theater for unspeakable acts — and an amplification system for an ideology of white supremacy that only recently was relegated to the shadows."

"We need to explain what’s distinct and what’s linked about far-right hate and the online culture that channels it, all while keeping real-world victims front and center," according to today's newsletter from the Columbia Journalism Review, which added:

White-nationalist terrorists are not lone wolves. Their murderous violence is deeply communal: perpetrated at the urging—and for the entertainment—of gawking audiences in dark corners of the web.

"There is likely to be another shooter, another manifesto, and more cheering anons," according to a post at bellingcat.com, which explains:

"This article is not a dissection of the shooter’s manifesto. It is a dissection of the online community that moulded and spawned him."

Last week, Wired published: Like Guns, Social Media Is a Weapon That Should Be Regulated

"By automatically amplifying any and all messages that appear on their platforms and using highly personal data and algorithms to target those messages to where they will have the greatest potency, social networks are weapons."

The Washington Post reported: Social media sites have become hubs for the proliferation of white-supremacist propaganda.

"White-supremacist groups use social media as a tool to distribute their message, where they can incubate their hate online and allow it to spread. But when their rhetoric reaches certain people, the online messages can turn into real-life violence."

The Trace reported: "Why one criminologist thinks toxic online speech could motivate more white supremacists to plot gun rampages."

“We have more people drawn to white supremacist rhetoric who see themselves as on a mission to change the world. That’s going to change the character of hate crimes in America.”

Vox published: How mass shooters practice their hate online*

"Taking online hate seriously would require platforms like Twitter to make fighting threats and bigotry a core part of their mission, not an afterthought ... It also means law enforcement, government, and ordinary users need to be aware of the ways in which online communities can fuel offline hate."

*Warning: This otherwise informative post contains names and details the acts of individual shooters. You may prefer to avoid it:

Mother Jones had "Gun violence prevention experts describe tools to keep firearms from racist killers."

While six states have banned people with hate crime convictions from purchasing guns, federally-mandated background checks do not currently flag whether the would-be gun owner has been charged or convicted of one.

And The Center for American Progress published: Curbing Hate Online: What Companies Should Do Now

"This report details how those inciting hate are using technologies to grow their audiences; to target people based on their essential characteristics, such as race, religion, gender, LGBTQ status, immigrant status, among others; and to fund their activities. It outlines our research and analysis, shares what we learned, and includes a summary of our recommended policies."

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