Racial extremists aren’t known for their brevity, but hate in 140 characters or less is starting to flourish thanks to Twitter, the social messaging service that allows users to provide constant updates for friends, family and just about everyone else.
Hatewatch has counted more than a dozen Twitter accounts associated with hate groups ranging from the League of the South to the Jewish Defense League to the Federation for American Immigration Reform. For those unfamiliar with the Twitter fad, it allows users to send very brief messages (known as “tweets”) that others can opt to receive by cell phone, instant message or the Twitter website. According to its rules, Twitter does not censor users’ posts except in limited cases, such as when they include threats of violence or confidential information.
Here’s a sampling of tweets and partial tweets that Hatewatch found during a recent tour of Twitter:
• From Stormfront: “Breaking News: Whites are really getting screwed these days.” (The tweet, which refers to affirmative action, also includes a link to a post on Stormfront, the world's leading white supremacist Web forum.)
• From the anti-immigrant group American Patrol: “William Gheen (ALIPAC) is an idiot.” (Glenn Spencer, the leader of American Patrol, is feuding with Gheen, head of another nativist group called Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, over accused double murderer Shawna Forde’s alleged links to Spencer’s group, which Spencer denies.)
• From the anti-Arab and anti-Muslim Jewish Defense League: “We’ve decided not to take any vacations to Islam-loving Hawaii. There are 49 other states to visit. And we love to travel in Israel too!”
• From the Traditional Values Coalition, a virulently anti-gay group federation of churches based in Washington, D.C.: “Gay Agenda on Fast-Track in Congress.”
• From “Life_of_a_Nazi,” also known as Kris Johnson, Wisconsin state leader for the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement: “Dinner time…Family time…important time for a National Socialist.”
Although white supremacists and other racial extremists haven’t yet rushed wholesale to use Twitter, they have been among the first to adopt all kinds of new technologies in recent years. They began using early computer bulletin boards long before the general population, and also were among the first to set up Web pages and interactive fora including dating pages. They also were early builders of video games, typically with a racist slant, that users can play via their computers.