Experts say social media driving young people into right-wing extremism

Social media is driving young Australians into the destructive rabbit holes of right-wing extremism, a panel of counter-terror experts has warned, and pulling youngsters away from the path of extremism will require complex action on the part of local communities and government.

Professor Michele Grossman AM, speaking at a senate hearing into right-wing movements in Australia on Monday, said the move of more young people, including children, into anti-democratic zealotry was “driven almost entirely by social media”.

“Their exposure levels have skyrocketed,” she said, warning easy access to radical images, chatrooms and websites left them more vulnerable to persuasion.

Neo-Nazi and other far-right movements have erupted into the public square in recent months, with cities hit with open protests from Nazi groups including the National Socialist Network.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.

READ NOW

On Australia Day, men in balaclavas with the NSN were stopped by police at a train station in North Sydney.

technology, news, australia, internet, lifestyle, nsw news, parenting, sa news, security, politics, state politics, tas news, vic news, experts say social media driving young people into right-wing extremism

Members of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Network march in suburban Adelaide. NCA NewsWire Credit: NCA NewsWire

technology, news, australia, internet, lifestyle, nsw news, parenting, sa news, security, politics, state politics, tas news, vic news, experts say social media driving young people into right-wing extremism

The internet is a key factor pushing more young people into radicalism. Supplied Credit: News Regional Media

The police again broke up meetings of the far-right group at North Turramurra on Saturday evening and Artarmon on Sunday morning.

State legislatures across the country have moved to tighten laws against the display of Nazi symbols and gestures, with Victoria, NSW and South Australia now instituting bans on hate symbols.

In its submission to the senate hearing, the Centre for Resilient and Inclusive Societies (CRIS) warned that social media could “fuel” curiosity about radical ideas.

“Various right-wing extremist organisations and movements, including neo-Nazis and conspiracy theorists, make intensified use of digital environments to fuel curiosity about, interest in and exposure to radical ideology,” its submission states.

“Social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram serve as ‘low-risk’ entry platforms for right-wing extremism in comparison to platforms such as 4chan, 8chan/Kun, Gab, Reddit and others, which can be seen as higher-risk channels in moving along the supply chain of toxic extremist exposure and immersion.

“Movement from low-risk to high-risk platforms exposes individuals to smaller communities with less access to different opinions, thus creating confirmation bias.”

Shifting at-risk young people away from radicalisation would prove a “challenge”, the experts also warned.

technology, news, australia, internet, lifestyle, nsw news, parenting, sa news, security, politics, state politics, tas news, vic news, experts say social media driving young people into right-wing extremism

Neo-Nazi protests have hit Australian cities in recent months. NCA NewsWire Credit: NCA NewsWire

Peer-to-peer programs, in which young people help to persuade their friends away from radicalism, community reporting and more training for educators were some of the practical responses recommended by the panel.

CRIS said tech companies had a responsibility to work with the security agencies on encryption to disrupt the flow of radical messaging and “work proactively to prevent terrorist and extreme violent material from being disseminated on social media platforms”.

The call echoes a plea from ASIO boss Mike Burgess and AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw to tech companies to make encryption “accountable”.

“The chatroom is encrypted, so ASIO’s ability to investigate is seriously compromised,” Mr Burgess told the National Press Club in April.

“Obviously, we and our partners will do everything we can to prevent terrorism or sabotage, so we are expending significant resources to monitor the Australians involved. Having lawfully targeted access to extremist communications would be much more effective and efficient.

“It would give us real time visibility of their activities.”

OTHER NEWS

21 minutes ago

Arsenal's Jurrien Timber urges Ajax to sign ex-Man Utd star

21 minutes ago

National weather forecast for Friday July 19

21 minutes ago

Crackdown after driver racks up 200 points

21 minutes ago

Andrew Forrest has 'woken up to reality' with latest Fortescue restructuring

21 minutes ago

Argentina's vice president defends Enzo Fernandez amid racism backlash: “I’m with you”

21 minutes ago

Country diary: A master of flight meets its match

21 minutes ago

‘Coaching staff are always evolving’: Benji Marshall discusses Robbie Farah’s exit as Fainu brothers prepare for special moment

21 minutes ago

How Much Money Zach Hyman's Celebrity Classic Raised For Charities

21 minutes ago

Inside the delayed rise of Storm rookie

21 minutes ago

Should the New York Mets Buy or Sell at the Trade Deadline?

21 minutes ago

5.2% Dividend Yield! I’m Buying This TSX Stock and Holding for Decades

21 minutes ago

Texans QB C.J. Stroud excited to unleash 'five-headed monster' on offense in 2024

21 minutes ago

Value play: Bet Detroit Lions' Jahmyr Gibbs to win NFL Offensive Player of the Year

21 minutes ago

Trump addresses assassination attempt

21 minutes ago

Fox Business Personality Lou Dobbs Has Died, Trump Announces

23 minutes ago

Euphoria star Barbie Ferreira, 27, cuts a casual figure in a white shirt and denim jeans in LA after unveiling dramatic weight loss

23 minutes ago

Gisele Bundchen shows off willowy figure in clinging workout gear while walking her dogs in Miami

23 minutes ago

Barbra Streisand wishes her husband James Brolin a happy 84th birthday: 'Happy birthday to my 28 years together honey'

23 minutes ago

The extreme physical sacrifice millennial actor Jack Braddy who is living in a share house says he would make to be able to afford his own home

23 minutes ago

V&A recruits four Taylor Swift superfans as advisers to museum

23 minutes ago

Reynolds returns, Walters scoffs at missing finals

23 minutes ago

F1 urged to 'do more' after Schumacher revelation

23 minutes ago

Biden and Trump find themselves in opposite places from where they began

23 minutes ago

F1 driver Magnussen to leave Haas at the end of this season

23 minutes ago

Video: Samuel Johnson reveals Heath Ledger confided in him about his struggles with fame before his tragic death  - and a shocking incident which occurred when they once went for a quiet stroll

23 minutes ago

Video: The extreme physical sacrifice millennial actor Jack Braddy who is living in a share house says he would make to be able to afford his own home

23 minutes ago

Video: Infamous Chicago cop is seen in disgusting confrontation just two years after beating Cubs fan outside Wrigley Field while saying 'I love this part, free shots'

23 minutes ago

Trump speech details assassination attempt: ‘I'm not supposed to be here tonight'

23 minutes ago

‘Bullets continued to fly': Trump recounts attempt on his life in RNC speech

23 minutes ago

Japan cuts growth forecast, economic council frets over pain from weak yen

41 minutes ago

15 months after his firing, Tucker Carlson returns to Fox News airwaves with a GOP convention speech

41 minutes ago

Utah State fires Aggies football coach Blake Anderson

41 minutes ago

Blue Bloods: New Young Adult Vampire Series in the Works Based on Popular Novels

41 minutes ago

Andrew Forrest downplays hit from Fortescue job cuts, saying 'Twiggy is not walking back from hydrogen'

41 minutes ago

Blackburn slams Secret Service chief for 'celebrating herself' at RNC after Trump assassination attempt

41 minutes ago

J.D. Vance’s Venmo History Reveals Ties to Trump Allies, Critics

41 minutes ago

Tucker Carlson Hated Trump ‘Passionately.’ He Just Endorsed Him At The RNC.

41 minutes ago

Most Expensive Fossil in the World: Dinosaur Skeleton Sold for $45 Million

50 minutes ago

PTA members say their principal chose to no longer welcome their organization on campus

53 minutes ago

Video: Emily Ratajkowski shows off her toned midriff in sporty look before changing into a chic black dress and heels for dinner at Hudson Clearwater in NYC