Falsified news and stylish videos: How right-wing extremists stir up hatred and lure young people

Fake news and lifestyle elements as door openers for inhuman propaganda | high reach even outside right-wing extremist circles | strengthen civil society, support young users and hold companies accountable

Right-wing extremists are taking an increasingly perfidious approach on the Net to lure young people and spread their ideology of inequality. They use fictitious or distorted reports to stir up hatred against refugees, Muslims and other minorities. Youth-affine topics such as online games, hip-hop or nutrition trends are used as door openers. Provocative posts on the social web also reach many young users outside extremist circles. Current findings, figures and counter-strategies on right-wing extremism on the Internet were presented today by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, the bpb and jugendschutz.net

"False reports are deliberately launched to stir up hatred", reports Stefan Glaser, deputy director of jugendschutz.net. The media staging has reached a new quality, the extremist background is often disguised. "Right-wing extremists convey their messages via stylish memes and videos. The Identitarian movement packages its propaganda in cool hip-hop songs, or Nazi slogans appear on Facebook between photos of strawberry cake and muesli". 

Federal Family Minister Manuela Schwesig emphasizes: "Hate and incitement have no place on the street or on the Internet. Many young people can be reached virtually anywhere and around the clock via smartphone or tablet. It is therefore all the more important that they in particular recognize the dangers on the Internet, learn to contradict them, and can also report hate postings. We need to strengthen digital civil society and at the same time hold the operators of Internet services accountable for consistently banning hate and violence from their platforms," continued Manuela Schwesig. 

"We need a young generation that stands up for democratic values and human rights and resolutely defends the foundations of our society", demands the President of the Federal Agency for Civic Education, Thomas Krüger. Political education must support young people in recognizing fake news, countering incitement and showing solidarity with the victims of hate, he said. "Education and enlightenment are the key" adds Krüger. 

In 2016, jugendschutz.net took action against 1,678 right-wing extremist offerings that could endanger the development of children and young people. 94 % were detected on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. In more than 80 % of the cases, it was possible to quickly remove the illegal content by contacting the provider or to have it blocked for access from Germany. 3 % were handed over to the media supervisory authorities and law enforcement. 

With the poster "Achtung Hinterhalt", jugendschutz.net offers tips on how young people can recognize right-wing extremist fake news and defend themselves against it. The brochure "Networked hate" provides information on how right-wing extremists lure and woo young people. 

Further information

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  • klicksafe to go: "Fact or fake? How to unmask fake news on the Internet"