More human-rights groups are expressing concern about the use of social-networking sites to spread racism.
Ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Sunday, three groups in Europe issued a statement indicating alarm at the use of social-networking sites to advance “racist and xenophobic views, especially among young people.” And last week, the Simon Wiesenthal Center released a report saying that racist and terrorist groups were relying more on social networks than they have before.
This is the second year that the Wiesenthal Center’s annual report covering hate groups on the Internet has highlighted the use of social networking. And Facebook last year faced questions about Holocaust-denial groups using its site.
Jessie Daniels, a professor at Hunter College in New York and the author of “Cyber Racism,” says racist groups online often use what she describes as “cloaking” to recruit people to their way of thinking. They may direct people to a site that calls itself educational and does not have any obvious ties to well-known racist groups. But the information on the site will be focused on topics such as Holocaust denial or repeal of civil rights legislation.
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