Online extremism and hate groups

Online extremism and hate groups

July 11, 20191 min read

A recent episode of the Reveal podcast from The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX titled "Hate in the homeland" features insights from Megan Squire, professor of computing sciences. 

Squire, who has conducted research into online networks of hate groups, participated in the discussion about how those groups are managing to remain online despite efforts to silence extreme sites. 

Squire recounts hearing the news about a gunman killing dozens of Muslim worshipers in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the discovery that he had posted a manifesto online. 

"I had already been collecting these hate manifestos from different killers, trying to do some text mining on them to see what themes they were taking from on another, to see if they were radicalizing one another," Squire told the podcast host. 

Squire collected what ended up being multiple versions of the shooter's manifesto posted online, but that there were only slight variations.

"They were treating the manifesto as an artifact, almost a holy artifact," Squire said. 

She found something different with the livestreamed video of the attack, which others were changing significantly — creating memes, adding soundtracks, adding clips and artwork. That made it significantly harder to remove from the internet, she said. 


If Dr. Squire can assist with your reporting about online extremism, please reach out to News Bureau Director Owen Covington at or (336) 278-7413. Dr. Squire is available for phone, email and broadcast interviews.

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