How to Spot a White Supremacist on Twitter

Jennifer Abel, Salon, April 3, 2013

For as long as the Internet has been commonplace, law enforcement agents have found it helpful in catching criminals (and not just the stupid ones who post video evidence of their crimes on YouTube, either). Extremist groups—such as the various American white-supremacist organizations—also find the Internet useful for connecting with like-minded people.

But it’s intensely time-consuming for police to personally wade through the web’s ever-growing number of white supremacist tweets and other social media postings in search of the relative handful of extremist posts indicating a possible threat.

Maybe there’s an easier way. Two researchers, J. M. Berger and Bill Strathearn, from the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence (ICSR) in London, have developed an algorithm with a high rate of success in identifying extremists on Twitter, by analyzing the relationships between Twitter account holders (as opposed to analyzing the actual posted content).

In a 56-page study (released in pdf form), Berger and Strathearn said:

“It is relatively easy to identify tens of thousands of social media users who have an interest in violent ideologies, but very difficult to figure out which users are worth watching. For students of extremist movements and those working to counter violent extremism online, deciphering the signal amid the noise can prove incredibly daunting.”

{snip}

But there’s a third group: those who don’t merely profess extremist beliefs but are willing to act violently upon them. If you’re in law enforcement, hoping to identify members of the third group before they hurt anybody, how can you do this?

{snip} Berger and Strathearn’s algorithm can make those determinations mathematically.

“Our starting data centered on followers of 12 American white nationalist/white supremacist “seed” accounts on Twitter. We discovered that by limiting our analysis to interactions with this set, the metrics also identified the users who were highly engaged with extremist ideology.”

Those 12 accounts had over 3,500 followers between them (who collectively generated over 340,000 different tweets), yet less than half of those followers publicly self-identified as white supremacists or white nationalists. {snip}

According to Berger and Strathearn:

“By measuring interactions alone—without analyzing user content related to the ideology—we narrowed the starting set down to 100 top-scoring accounts, of which 95 percent overtly self-identified as white nationalist. […] A comparison analysis run on followers of anarchist Twitter accounts suggests the methodology can be used without modification on any number of ideologies.”

The researchers identified three key terms used in their algorithms, which they listed and defined as follows:

  • Influence: A metric measuring a Twitter user’s ability to publicly create and distribute content that is consumed, affirmed and redistributed by other users.

  • Exposure: A metric measuring a Twitter user’s tendency to publicly consume, affirm and redistribute content created by other users.

  • Interactivity: A metric measuring a Twitter user’s combined influence and exposure based on their public activity.

For example: suppose you’re a non-racist person following ex-Klansman David Duke on Twitter, and occasionally sending him a tweet disagreeing with his views. It’s highly unlikely any of Duke’s racist followers will find your comment worth re-tweeting. But a racist Duke follower who sends tweets reinforcing his white power views probably will inspire lots of retweets and conversations in the more bigoted regions of the Twitterverse.

Thus the algorithm focuses on the connections while paying no attention to the content. {snip}

{snip}

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  • Francis Galton

    I take it black Tweeters (?) who threatened to riot and kill White people if Obama had lost; who plan and carry out beat YT flash mobs and flash robs; who star in WorldStarHipHop mayhem; who promote non-White thuggery and criminality in general; will be duly ignored.

    Remember: an upstanding White racist is automatically worse than black murderers, black rapists, black muggers, black dictators, black ANYBODY.

    • IanJMacDonald

      I heard Whoopi Goldberg on The View refer to black Tweeters as “twiggers.”

    • BernieGoetzFan

      Exactly. Many blacks on Twitter supported Chris Doerner and Trayvon Martin and called for the murder of Mitt Romney. They even use Twitter to set up black flash mobs against non-blacks. Yet no studies on that racism.

      • Not Politcally Correct

        This is true but many more Whites called for the murder of Obama.

        • NotThatGuy

          Oh bullshit. You can’t even say that with a straight face! Did we have any white celebrities tweeting Obama’s home address saying “Get him”? Or the leaders of a White Supremacist organization go out and say “We have a 100000 dollar bounty on Obama?” We saw both of it with George Zimmerman.

        • Nathanwartooth

          I guarantee any that did got a visit from the secret service.

          When you say “many more” do you mean raw numbers or percentages?

          Are you just making this up as you go along?

        • Harry_Balzonyah

          Complete nonsense. Threatening the life of the President is a felony and would require immediate action by the Secret Service. If it did occur, could you imagine the outrage by the MSM? When Ted Nugent made an off-the-cuff remark that he would “be dead or in jail by this time next year” if Obama got re-elected, he had an immediate visit from the Secret Service and it was all over the news.

      • Felix_M

        Yet no studies on that racism.

        That’s so well known that to study that would be akin to studying that the sky is blue.

        • Nathanwartooth

          Wait, the sky is blue?

          I don’t believe you.

          Please link to at least 3 peer reviewed studies that say so.

          • anonymous_amren

            Tyndall, J. (1868). On the blue colour of the sky, the polarization of skylight, and on the polarization of light by cloudy matter generally. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, 17, 223-233.

            Rayleigh, L. (1899). XXXIV. On the transmission of light through an atmosphere containing small particles in suspension, and on the origin of the blue of the sky.The London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, 47(287), 375-384.

            Hulburt, E. O. (1953). Explanation of the brightness and color of the sky, particularly the twilight sky. JOSA, 43(2), 113-118.

          • Nathanwartooth

            Well played.

    • guest

      That’s how it is with the deluded minds of the PC crowd. A white person wishes to be with other whites – that’s racist, hate, and pure evil. A non-white person rapes, attacks, or murders a white person – nothing to see here, people.

      Thank goodness I wasn’t raised to be politically correct. Being PC is no different than joining a suicide cult.

      • Charles

        The politically correct or the progressives as they like to call themselves is a suicide cult.

    • Felix_M

      What must really frighten the leftists is realizing just how much of the American public disagrees with their insanity. They know the real danger isn’t twitter or the ability to twitter, it’s free people being able to think for themselves.

  • Zimriel

    Hey, Jared Taylor got the #6 seed! It’s in Appendix at the linked pdf. Congratulations.

    How do you get to #1 – is it a free-throw competition?

    • http://countenance.wordpress.com/ Question Diversity

      I don’t think that list of sites is listed in a ranked order, or in any order. But I did notice that the Council of Conservative Citizens (cofcc.org) is in that list.

      Strangely in that list are Alex Jones’s Info Wars and the John Birch Society’s The New American magazine — Both are historically known for being race deniers, even though TNA has had more racially tinged articles lately that could almost read like something that would appear in AR.

      • Zimriel

        I’ll just outright say it – it’s disgusting that AR and CCC are on the same list as murdering skinheads [I don't mean InfoWars or Birch].

        I’ll get accused of sucking up if I say much about AR at AR’s own comments, but CCC got out there first to support Zimmerman when National Review and other sites were bowing and scraping. This when CCC knew full well that Zimmerman wasn’t white either – in fact CCC broke a lot of those stories.

        Are AR and CCC racist? By SPLC standards – guilty as charged. Is there stuff sometimes posted here and there I don’t like? Sure. But if they’re “extremist”, then there’s something deeply wrong with the definitions of what is and is not “extreme”.

        • http://countenance.wordpress.com/ Question Diversity

          I’ll just outright say it – it’s disgusting that AR and CCC are on the same list as murdering skinheads

          KKKrazy Glue time.

          This when CCC knew full well that Zimmerman wasn’t white either – in fact CCC broke a lot of those stories.

          Everyone knows that GZ isn’t white. But the political question is a good proxy for black-white racial politics, and those are heavily influenced by black crime.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jasbo.adink Jasbo Adink

      Maybe we can wear swimsuits.

  • Tim

    Now, I don`t HATE anyone. But computers, that`s another story…. Sigh!

    • The__Bobster

      I share your pain. I fried a mother board last month and then purchased a Windows 8 machine. What a mistake!

      • http://countenance.wordpress.com/ Question Diversity

        For the brain dead user interface? I know what you mean…I don’t own a Win8 machine but I’ve helped some people who do, and have been able to find and figure out some work-arounds that make Win8 a lot more sane and useable. Once you do that, then you’ll find out that Win8 is actually pretty good, mainly for the new kernel. Get in touch with me on the contact form on my own blog (I doubt AR wants this turned into an “ask-a-nerd” help desk) and I’ll tell you more.

      • ncpride

        Ugg… We just ordered our daughter a new laptop with Windows 8, but it’s what she wanted. Hope she doesn’t have too much trouble with it.

        • professor

          Recently bought a laptop with Win 8, take a look at the bios before you buy.Took it back the next day, sorry for being off the main subject but had to interject.

      • robinbishop34

        I just bought one of those $400 HP laptops from Sam’s about a week ago
        with Win8 and it drove me crazy for a few days, but I’m getting it now. That said, for the price I’m seriously impressed with the
        machine.

  • Bobby

    Just another anti-white leftist rag. End of story.

  • Bobby

    “How to spot anti-whites on twitter”
    Phrases like “this is our land”, “Go back to Europe”, “honkey devi”, “whitey”, etc. For more information, check out the web sites dedicated to anti-white defamation. PEACE!

  • So CAL Snowman

    They are really pulling out ALL the stops now! What are they so afraid of? I mean EVERYONE and there mother wants to live next to and with White people but at the same time they consider us crazy, evil White supremacists.

  • Pelagian

    Okay, I’ll bite. Once theyve identified the “dangerous” ones, how do they then know where he is so they can go “round him up”, hmmmn?

    • nobody

      It’s not difficult. Usually, all they have to do is file a request with Twitter for your contact information. If you registered with a bogus name and email address, they can use your IP address to narrow down your location, though sometimes they can identify it precisely. They can also file requests with your ISP and most of these requests are granted. The big search engines and social media sites get tens of thousands of these requests from law enforcement and the government every year and they hand over the information in something like ninety percent of the cases according to recent news stories I’ve seen. Most internet users take absolutely no precautions to safeguard their privacy.

      • anonymous_amren

        I’m writing this using TOR. They don’t know my IP address.

  • http://twitter.com/AgentAxis D.B. Cooper

    Ask Jennifer Abel about black crime and flash mobs. Throw it right back at her.

  • The__Bobster

    But there’s a third group: those who don’t merely profess extremist beliefs but are willing to act violently upon them. If you’re in law enforcement, hoping to identify members of the third group before they hurt anybody, how can you do this?
    _____________

    Even though ARA types tend to be far more violent than White supremacists, I’m sure none of them are on these lists.

    • Hunter Morrow

      Nah, only “right-wing” stuff. Which VNN certainly isn’t. You gonna be back on Big Bad Number 5 with me soon?

  • Sponge Robert

    Rule 1 in New America: White thoughts are worse than black actions.

    • me

      Yes!

    • ms_anthro

      This should become a pro-White catchphrase. I will repost this often, thank you!

    • http://twitter.com/AFreespeechzone A Freespeechzone

      The BEST reason of all to be armed…..

      • Defoe

        Right, but one needs no reason to be armed other than the fact that self defense is the fundamental right of every human.

  • http://twitter.com/seedymedia r j p

    Better study would have been: How to Spot a Pending Black Riot on Michigan Avenue on Twitter

    • Felix_M

      ♪♫”My kind of town, Chicongo”♫♪

  • Skinner

    This is from Page 24 of the study:

    “Among the top 10 mainstream news sites, 31 percent of links went to the top two sources, the Daily Mail (UK) Among the top 10 mainstream news sites, 31 percent of links went to the top two sources, the Daily Mail (UK) and Fox News (US).”

    Wow, just wow.  So simply having articles about black crime (rather than covering it up like most news sites) is indicative of white nationalism or supremacy?  That tells you everything that you need to know about this study.

  • bigone4u

    Law enforcement has picked their target: peaceful, nonviolent white Americans concerned with crime, high taxes supporting lazy layabouts, illegitimacy, illegal immigrants, the education of their children, etc. and labeled them EXTREMISTS. The idea, from Alinsky’s rules for radicals, is to tar and feather concerned whites into shutting up. They want to instill the fear into us that the cops will soon send a SWAT team to our house, shoot our dog, take our children, and throw us in jail, while financially ruining us as we pay the lawyers to defend us. Well, guess what? They did it to Randy Weaver. They can do it again. The war on whites by the federal government is being escalated. The thought police are real. I refuse to surrender to them.

    • Felix_M

      That’s because they know we’re law-abiding, and so, we’ve become easy targets.

      • http://twitter.com/AFreespeechzone A Freespeechzone

        Look at the direction of the gun grabbers—they’d rather go after White, law-abiding gun owners and not work to disarm violent, black gangs, where most who own weapons are felons…

        That reinforces that fact that White thoughts are worse than black actions…

    • Charles

      Sooner or later all whites will feel the same way as we do. They will have to. Look who we have have on our side as recruiting sergeants, non-whites!

      And an excellent job they are doing increasing our numbers daily.

    • liberalsuck

      These are the same people trying to disarm us, buy up all the ammo and use our resources against us. I contend when a civil war breaks out, at first it will be fought between whites like us (Republicans, Tea Party, Oathkeepers, NRA members, farmers, conservatives, white nationalists, bikers, the white working class, etc) against the whites who have sold out for a paycheck (cops, FBI, DHS, ATF, National Guard, etc). True, there are many blacks, muslims and some Hispanics that hate us so much they want us dead and out of the picture, but the real battle will be between other whites at first. They have a lot more weapons than we do, everything from the ammo to the nuclear weapons to the fully automatic firearms, they have the courts and our own money to use against us…but they will eventually lose. We will win, just like we did when we fought off the British Empire. The government will soon run out of money and motivated boots on the ground to put down the resistance.

      • ms_anthro

        Excellent response! I will post this quote again, as it’s relevant to the thread topic. When the time comes, we must fight or face our own White Holocaust.

        “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”

        ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

        To White people reading this: FIGHT BACK. You are not alone. None of us are.

        • Defoe

          That has been my favorite quote for many years. Solzhenitsyn has much to teach us about freedom and how to lose it. And by the way, WW11 was a White holocaust; Upwards of 50 million Whites died.

  • Paleoconn

    Racist tweeting = crime of the century

  • David Ashton

    1984 – The Thought Police.

    • Felix_M

      Orwell got it wrong. Jack-booted bulldykes in leathers and with short-cropped hair is the more accurate image of the real thought police.

  • Sue

    It’s still their opinion. You can not stop what people think and the more people get pi$$ed off for not being able to talk the more the brew smolders.

  • splitsing

    Funny that these “researchers” didn’t have any findings that included the thug images like Trayvon Martin or the sick zulu in Georgia that blew the brains out of a young hispanic baby flashing gang signs.

  • The Final Solution

    Clearly freedom of association is gone. If you’re following or followed by anyone these so-called experts have labeled racist then you’re probably in some sort of ‘hate database’ somewhere along with all the gun owners and whoever else they want to ruin. We are at war people – it’s time we start thinking of new tactics other than websites full of news about race-related stories and forums if we want to win this. We need to start exerting our influence as a group.

    • Jason

      Whites need to start paying their business employees under the table. Find ways to screw the government out of every penny. Start moving out of the cities and forming our own enclaves with strict bans on minorities, not hard-bans but more like extreme shunning and price gouging and making their lives miserable when they move into our communities. Stop buying products marketed by coprorations that promote our cultural disintegration, even if it means looking out of fashion or driving an old European car. If I had a lot of land, I would divide it up and invite every white non-tribal Amren reader to live on a plot that they would own. Cut down timber from the forests and build their own homes like Thoreau. Live simply but happily, like they do in Vermont. No obligations whatsoever, just be white. Even if it was a complete financial loss for me I would do it; I would sacrifice it for my family and racial kin. When you see a white homeless person HELP THEM OUT with even just a couple of dollars (okay I know a lot of people won’t like that one, but when we turn our backs on our own kind by simply blaming them for all their own problems – ignoring the role of chance, government, economic forces, cultural forces etc. – instead of helping them it is disgraceful imo.)

      • anarchyst

        You offer excellent solutions. However, do you think that our controllers will allow us to gain strength?? We will have to do it surreptitiously. . .
        Best regards,

        • Jason

          Yes, I agree. It will have to be done somewhat stealthily. The difficult part is to achieve a lot of these goals means working in the open. Yet openness will also work against you by bringing attention from our enemies. You need a popular grassroots movement as well as a secret dedicated cadre of revolutionaries. I think AR and sites like it are an essential tool for the grassroots part of that equation because it creates the zeitgeist necessary for a movement to coalesce around. Without millions of like-minded individuals we won’t have a movement, that’s why sites like AR and others need to keep growing and attracting readers until we have critical mass.

      • Defoe

        Remember that the tribe had, and has, lots and lots of money supporting their efforts. Where’s our Rothschild??

      • newscomments70

        Your heart is in the right place and you have some good ideas…

        “Our noble White race needs to start paying their business employees under the table. Find ways to screw the government out of every penny.” Asians and hispanics already do that in California. What’s left of the hapless whites pay most of the taxes. Maybe we should do the same….they will go after us, but they leave the minorities alone.

        ” not hard-bans but more like extreme shunning” That is a good idea. I avoid doing business with blacks, not out of hatred, but I simply don’t want to be ripped off. Where I live, in a fairly liberal white town, blacks are treated like criminals. Even fairly civilized blacks complain about it, and often move out. they want to be around their own kind. Shunning does help. if they build section 8 housing, then they are there to stay though.

        “Live simply but happily, like they do in Vermont” Vermont is liberal, yuppie, la-la land. Their small cities are now filled with Somalis and other types.

        “When you see a White homeless person HELP THEM OUT with even just a couple of dollars.” The homeless whites that I see are as bad as ghetto blacks. Most are drug addicts and they are often violent. They will use your handouts to buy drugs, booze, and cigarettes. We have a homeless shelter that offers help to the homeless that want to help themselves…with showers, clean clothes and employment placement. I believe in that type of facility. Giving random homeless money is a bad idea though. Even some liberals advise against that.

    • whiteuncleruckus

      How? There arent enough of us. I dont want to sound pessimistic but we are like abolitionists in 1605.

  • Room101

    I think I read it today in the AmRen comments a great new word… #twiggers.
    LMAO

  • Funruffian

    I have one answer to this asinine article: because these supposed people who you deem as White Supremacists are not committing any crimes. Just because they want to form an alarm network for good people to avoid certain minorities is considered self-protection. It’s repulsive that to a Black, a White person protecting himself is considered a Supremist.

  • dukem1

    “Analyzing relationships'”

    Isn’t there something in the US constitution protecting the citizens rights to free association?

    • freddy_hills

      That’s a good point. Technically, the government isn’t supposed to keep files on people without a good reason. They do it but they’re supposed to limit it to legitimate threats. I’ve read the gov uses private organizations like the ADL and SPLC to generate the lists because private orgs don’t have as many restrictions as the government.

      • anonymous

        The internal security agencies have always maintained files on potentially subversive individuals and groups, but until recently they’ve been limited by the technology available. That’s all changed now and the growth in electronic surveillance which has taken place over the last decade or so is really mind-boggling. The trend these days is data-mining on a truly massive scale. Look up the NSA’s Community Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Data Center, aka the “Utah Data Center,” for more information. It’s very important for all of us to realize that we are now living in a Total Surveillance State, and don’t think that “being right” or not advocating violence is going to protect you. Neither will the Constitution. People who think like us are just one executive order away from becoming Thought Criminals and potential domestic terrorists.

        • anarchyst

          Don’t bet on it, entirely. Leviathan government has so much data to “sift through” that it is possible to “fly below the radar. It is virtually impossible for government to be “everywhere”. Live your life. Form close associations, being aware of government “plants”.

          • Defoe

            The NSA gathers ALL electronic emissions and other data. If you, for any reason, appear on “their” radar screen, they can immediately download all the info they have swept up on you. With these advanced (and always improving) algorithms, they can perform “link analysis” and create comprehensive information about the “circles” you operate within. They will know all about the books you’ve bought from Amazon, for example. They will have every post you have ever posted here and elsewhere. We are truly llving in 1984 now. But wait, it’s 2013.

  • IKantunderstand

    I’m guessing they haven’t found anybody White who has the metrics to indicate they might be a problem. We need to get to work. We need to have one hundred million White people qualify as White “supremacist”. Got enough rounds of hollow point ammo, Reno?

  • LHathaway

    So these means we all have to network like never before. . just to confuse them up. All we have to do is get everybody talking. Then the dangerous ones will be home free. .

  • NotThatGuy

    White Supremacists is yesterdays news. No one worries about them anymore, because they do not go out of their way (typically) to cause trouble.

    I would rather read an article on “How to spot a flashmob of thugs on Twitter” or “How to spot wilding unruly godless teens on Twitter”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Hillyard/100000971153370 Mark Hillyard

    For a while back in the 80’s I watched Louis Farrakan because he made a lot of noise and really hates white guys. I invented the International Order of Free White Guys. Some people thought it was funny and some people thought I should promote it on the internet. I placed a business card of it on the refrigerator at our mountain cabin. My dipstick brother took it down when he invited some knee grows up there for a weekend. He thought I was rascist. I thought he was a lilly livered dipstick sucking up to these knee grows.
    Anyway, nothing came of it but I had fun with the Order for a while. Still have some of the business cards on my bulletin board.

  • Sloppo

    This article is NOT about finding “white supremacists” because the best place to find whites who have a desire to rule over blacks would be an insane asylum. In today’s PC language white separatists are considered the same as “white supremacists” despite the fact that the first group is probably a thousand times bigger than the second. To find whites who want to live separate from blacks, the best method it just to find whites. The vast majority of whites are white separatists, whether or not they self-aware and/or honest enough to know and/or admit it. When a white neighborhood goes dark and the criminal, cultural, lingual changes do what they automatically do in that situation, almost all whites want to move to a whiter area … because we’re separatists … just like the various ethnic groups who live amongst themselves in their own homelands or in their ethnic enclaves throughout America and Europe.

  • Alexandra

    I can’t even access AmRen at the library in the next town, I get a notice that the site is against policy, so I sent them a (relatively) polite email. I’m glad I can access it here, though the comments don’t always work because of an outdated browser.
    Interestingly enough, I can “backdoor” my way to the features…just not the news section.
    The Thought Police are patrolling, folks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/infrared.crayon Infrared Crayon

    No word on how to identify a black supremacist or Asian supremacist or Hispanic supremacists.

    Or rapists, flash mobbers, murderers or robbers, no word on how to identify them.

    Just white supremacists.

    Good to know.

  • liberalsuck

    I’m on American White History Month on Facebook. My comments and so are other comments on there are tame compared to the Black Power page and other anti-white liberal pages.

  • Michael_C_Scott

    I have never used Twitter.

  • Sherman_McCoy

    I wonder if, when one gets a notice that one has a follower (here or on twitter, etc). it isn’t some retarded antifas trying to cow one into shutting up?

  • loyalwhitebriton

    F*****G BLACK C****S GET ON MY F*****G NERVES! I WISH THEY WOULD ALL JUST F*** OFF!! F*****G BLACK C***S!
    There, that’s how you spot a “white spremacist” on Twitter. I should know.

  • StillModerated

    I don’t have twitter. Never will! And this is precisely why — the Thought Police. Frank Zappa warned this would happen in the 60s. George Orwell warned us in the 40s.