Congress examines white nationalism & social media

(NBC News) Hate speech and vitriol were under the microscope on Capitol Hill Tuesday, at the center of a House Judiciary hearing on white nationalism and the internet.

Analysts say white nationalism is on the rise across the country and around the world.

“Hate has become a bit of a virus lately, and it’s spreading across boarders and in some cases causing people to commit mass acts of violence,” warns Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Experts say those spreading the movement’s propaganda are using online platforms to organize, recruit new members and incite violence.

They point to recent mass shootings in New Zealand, Pittsburgh and Charleston as evidence.

Representatives of Google and Facebook told lawmakers changes in policies and procedures have resulted in millions of videos and other content being removed from their platforms.

“We have made significant investments in artificial intelligence to try to detect this type of content before it is seen,” says Facebook public policy director Neil Potts.

Still, those who track the growth of hate groups say they haven’t done enough.

“They can take the exact same tools they’ve used against these Muslim extremist groups and apply it to white supremacy,” Beirich says. “If they can shut that down online, they can shut this down online.”

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