The U.N. has warned of growing far-right extremist networks' online presence to get people to join their cause, while calling on governments to prohibit the formation of racist organizations through online platforms. In a report, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance, E. Tendayi Achiume, underscored the government's obligations required by the U.N. Convention to counter the spreading of extreme ideologies online and the responsibilities of social media platforms.
"Digital platforms have become vehicles for the spread of hate speech and incitement to discrimination, intolerance and violence on racial, ethnic, religious and related grounds," said Achiume, who added, "The largely unregulated, decentralized, cheap, and anonymizing nature of the internet has allowed hate groups to spread their networks across borders and amplify their hate-filled messages."
Frequent use of the internet has become popular among many far-right groups as they spread their views and propaganda primarily through social media networks popular with young people. This also leads various far-right extremist groups from different countries to connect through the internet to propagate their message. As their provocative and offensive views circulate more quickly and broadly among internet users, their online propaganda operations enable them to recruit new followers.
Over the past five years, social media companies have taken action to remove racist, neo-Nazi content from their services. Other platforms, like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, have in the past year also banned individual users who have contributed to hate groups.
"The growing support for neo-Nazism and related ideologies, especially through the use of new digital technologies, is of primary concern," said Achiume. "The current international and regional human rights framework offers relevant principles that should be implemented effectively in law and in practice by states in order to tackle such forms of racism and intolerance online," she added.