Commitment to Fight Radical Right Wing Content on the Internet
Clickworkers find 1,550 radical right wing websites and web 2.0 entries—analysis on netz-gegen-nazis.de
In the forums their name might be “NSDAP88”, they listen to “Heimattreu (Homeland-loyal radio) Radio” and browse special dating websites to find a romantic partner who shares their radical views. Members of the radical right are very active on the internet and the size and speed of this medium often makes it difficult to monitor the activities of the radical right and to know how to actively stand up against them.
An initiative was launched that combined the efforts of the website Netz-gegen-Nazis.de (Net against Nazis) and the freelance online workers at the crowdsourcing company clickworker.com. From November 2009 to March 2010, the clickworkers, who normally search the web for data on behalf of various clickworker.com clients, scoured the internet this time to uncover radical right wing and racist content and websites. They found over 1550 websites, entries on social media sites and videos.
The sites were analyzed by the editorial team at netz-gegen-nazis.de. They studied the collection of misanthropic information and evaluated how radical right wing content appears on the web. Besides the content they expected to find on radical right wing and historical revisionist sites, they also found a large amount of content that promotes the radical right wing lifestyle and information to attract young people. Next to Nazi ringtones they found right-wing themed computer games that attract new “Aryan warriors” on the internet. Personal home pages can be “spruced up” with Nazi style fonts and web surfers can then also march into a Nazi social website. Humor is often the gateway into sites that contain the worst sort of hate content, content that spreads hate to all of society through “humor”. The complete results of the investigation can be found here>
The work done by the Clickworkers at clickworker.com is a good example of what the editors at netz-gegen-nazis.de, the Amadeu Antonio Foundation website and ZEIT would like to see more of as a commitment to fight the radical right wing on the web. “Here we have society in general, clickworker.com and its clickworkers (registered internet users), decide that there is a democratic standard on the web that they want to have and protect. So they think about what they can do to help, what strengths they have. Their strength is in numbers- currently there are over 60,000 Clickworkers- and they became involved.” said Simone Rafael, chief executive at netz-gegen-nazis.de. She continues, “Shutting down radical right wing websites sends the message that radical right wing activities won’t go unopposed. Though this internet activity is rather quick and easy to shut down it is not the real problem. The real problem is the ideology behind it. That is why I think it is important that web users as well as online companies carefully consider what they can do so that racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination are not spread on the internet.”
Heike Altmeier, Vice President of Marketing at clickworker.com adds:
“As a new and global company we think this sort of social responsibility is a given. We support social initiatives we think could benefit from the enormous potential of our Clickworkers.
We find racism in any form abhorrent and in no way acceptable or understandable. We were pleased to have been able to, along with our Clickworkers around the globe, make a small contribution to the efforts to halt the spread of such content on the web. We will continue to support the initiatives of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation in the future.”
The data from the 1,550 radical right wing websites and postings were given to judicial authorities. Erardo Rautenberg, Brandenburg Attorney General, praised the actions of the Clickworkers: “The web research completed by Netz-gegen-Nazis.de and clickworker.com shows the scope of radical right wing activities and appearances on the World Wide Web. It reveals the danger that is present and makes a significant contribution to fighting the anti-democratic and misanthropic ideologies that are spreading via the internet and seeking to indoctrinate adolescents and young adults. This initiative has boosted the morale and activities of everyone who works on the internet to fight such neo-Nazi tendencies. This data will be examined by the Cottbus Attorney General’s task force which targets computer and online criminal activities.”
As for the websites that contain neo-Nazi propaganda which targets young people, netz-gegen-nazis.de has contacted the service providers and web hosts to see if they really want to provide such content. The collective online youth protective services of all the German Federal States has been targeting radical right wing web activities for the past 10 years and has successfully fought against unacceptable web content in Germany and abroad. Radical right wing internet sites can be reported directly to the jugendschutz.net (youthprotection.net) web site hass-im-netz.info (hate-on-the web.info).
clickworker.com and Netz-gegen-nazis.de hope to run the same campaign next year.