Releases new report exposing how far-right extremists use podcasts for networking, building individual brands and spreading propaganda
MONTGOMERY, AL – The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) today launched TechWatch, a new resource which tracks the role technology plays in perpetuating hate. The first feature series to launch on this new page is a groundbreaking 4-part new report exposing the origins and growth of the far-right podcast ecosystem over a decade, examining the individuals and groups that use this technology to create and expand their networks of hate.
“For years, far-right extremists and hate groups have increasingly used technology to spread dangerous messaging, raise money, expand membership and audience and even coordinate violence. This new resource seeks to expose the various ways these groups use all sorts of tech platforms,” said Susan Corke, director of SPLC’s Intelligence Project. “Despite constant warnings to tech companies about the dangers of these groups, more often than not, companies have put profits over the public good. Our hope is resources like this will shine light into dark corners of the web and help propel action by the companies, public, and even Congress to address this dire situation.”
On TechWatch, SPLC writers and researchers will continue to use data analytics and research to reveal the interdependence of technology and extremism. The page will also feature SPLC’s reporting from the last decade that focuses on technology and hate and holding Twitter and other platforms accountable.
From 2005 to 2020, SPLC analyzed 18 different podcasts and focused on 882 cast members who appeared on over four thousand different podcast episodes. The new report examines how the far-right strategy uses podcasts as a tool for extremists to build in-person communities and mobilize their base to attend events. SPLC found the podcasts also provided a low-cost, low-risk method for exchanging information and networking internationally. Appearances on international podcasts helped propagandists, event organizers and movement leaders discuss strategies and tactics to further their movement. Data also revealed that podcasts played a crucial role in branding and marketing Richard Spencer, one of the core leaders of the modern white nationalist movement.
"Our research makes clear that extremists are using podcasts to cultivate their own financially lucrative video and livestreaming landscape and spread their messages of hate and disinformation, and the tech companies have allowed, enabled, or even been complicit,” said Corke.
You can find the new site TechWatch here.