Sep 25, 2021 - World

Neo-Nazi groups thrive online through merchandise and ticket sales

A Facebook logo

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Multiple groups of neo-Nazi members are thriving on social media platforms despite those companies' commitment to fighting extremism, the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: Dozens of far-right groups use their Facebook, YouTube and Instagram platforms to spread their ideology, draw in recruits and generate millions in sales through events and merchandise.

The big picture: The Counter Extremism Project found 39 related Instagram profiles, 16 Twitter profiles and 34 YouTube channels, which have gotten over 9.5 million views, that have been flagged as extremist by the German government, per AP.

  • The groups on Facebook avoid blatant violations of rules such as using hate speech or posting swastikas. But clicking on the "view shop" button on one group's Facebook page shows shirts for sale that read "My favorite color is white."
  • Facebook told AP it employs 350 people whose primary job is to counter terrorism and organized hate, and that it is investigating the pages and accounts flagged.
  • A Facebook spokesperson said the company had removed over 6 million pieces of content tied to organized hate globally between April and June and is working to move even faster, per AP.

What they're saying: “We ban organizations and individuals that proclaim a violent mission, or are engaged in violence,” the Facebook spokesperson said, per AP.

  • Google said it has no interest in giving visibility to hateful content on YouTube and was looking into the accounts identified, per AP.
  • A Twitter spokesperson told AP that it is committed to ensuring that public conversation is “safe and healthy" and that “threatening or promoting violent extremism is against our rules"
Go deeper