Anti-Defamation League Announces Partnership with Network Contagion Research Institute

Anti-Defamation League Announces Partnership with Network Contagion Research Institute

By Todd Gutnick

On March 12, the Anti-Defamation League announced a partnership with the Network Contagion Research Institute to produce a series of reports that take an in-depth look into how extremism and hate spread on social media – and provide recommendations on how to combat both. After the devastating attack on two mosques in New Zealand March 15, the need for research of this kind is profound both in the United States and abroad.

The NCRI deploys machine learning tools to expose hate on digital social networks within a cross-platform, public-minded and global framework. Their multidisciplinary scientists and engineers are working closely with extremism experts at ADL’s Center on Extremism to harness cutting-edge technology to track developments and provide intelligence and analysis to technology companies, law enforcement, public officials and community leaders.

Together, ADL’s Center on Extremism and NCRI researchers will produce several reports. The first, released in March, examines the link between Twitter bans and membership on Gab, a social media platform favored by right-wing extremists, including the perpetrator of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh in October.

Using cutting-edge analytical tools, the research found that Gab membership levels surge immediately after Twitter bans extremists and hateful speech, and that Gab members harbor a deep hostility toward mainstream social media platforms.

“This collaboration taps into ADL’s deep expertise on extremism and hate and NCRI’s cutting edge research techniques and machine learning tools to provide actionable intelligence on extremist use of social media,” said George Selim, ADL senior vice president, programs. “This will greatly expand our efforts to help social media companies understand how their platforms are being used to spread hate, and what actions they can take to prevent that from happening in the future.”

ADL’s Center on Extremism fights extremism, terrorism and all forms of hate with unmatched capabilities in research, analysis, investigation and online monitoring. Recognized as a foremost authority on extremism, ADL’s Center on Extremism provides resources, expertise and training, which enables law enforcement, public officials, community leaders and technology companies to identify and counter emerging threats.

Recent reports from the COE have looked at extremism from a variety of angles, including “Murder and Extremism in the U.S.,” ADL’s annual report on extremist relating killings; “White Supremacist Propaganda Efforts Soared in 2018,” which looks at trends of hate fliering and events across the U.S.; and “Mainstreaming Hate: The Anti-Immigrant Movement in the U.S.,” which examines how extreme views on immigrants and refugees have moved from the margins to the mainstream. ■

All the reports are available at www.adl.org. For more information on these reports or on extremist incidents in Central Texas, contact the ADL Austin office at 512-249-7960 or austin@adl.org.

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