Accelerationists (who want to instigate a race war to bring down liberal democracies), saw the COVID-19 pandemic, the different health related measures and restrictions, and the surrounding fear, confusion and criticism as an opportunity to benefit from the resulting societal polarisation. Fortunately, their apocalyptic narratives seem to have found little to no relevant support beyond already affected RWE milieus.
The current draft DSA is based on a set of narratives about the role, function and business models of so-called gatekeeper platforms that do not seem to adequately reflect their actual functionality and commercial purpose. This paper will therefore those systemic misunderstandings and provide an alternative narrative that might help to build the internet and intermediary services the EU is actually aiming for.
The Halle attacker – who killed two people, injured two and aimed at killing dozens more at a Synagogue on 9 October 2019 – was inspired and motivated by online manifestos. In addition, he streamed his attack online and posted his own manifesto online, too. His attack has been marked as a typical ‘lone actor’ attack.
‘Lone wolves’, ‘lone actors’, ‘solo terrorists’, ‘loners’, ‘lone attackers’ – all definitions suggest a single individual, finding his or her way into an extremist ideology without affiliating to a group or network and operating on their own. However, most of the so-called ‘lone actors’ who carry out attacks subscribed to certain narratives and unorganised collectives. These collectives are leaderless and without clear hierarchies, but their followers are connected and united by shared narratives, values and enemies. For example, during his trial, the Halle shooter said that he did not join any group since he thought they would all be under surveillance. But he made clear that he feels like a soldier fighting for the “white race”.
Das Counter Extremism Project (CEP) und Das NETTZ luden zu einem digitalen Fachgespräch zum Thema „Extremistische und jugendgefährdende Inhalte online – Kann der EU Digital Services Act Nutzer:innen wirksam schützen?“ ein, das am 15. April 2021 stattfand.
How to find and identify digital terrorist “lone actors” before they commit violent acts was the lead question of this expert meeting. A special focus was put on the role and functions of social media platforms and gaming platforms. The term “lone-actor terrorism” has over time developed into a controversial and confusing concept.
While individuals might act alone on an operational level, usually they are or feel as being a part of a specific group or movement. Particularly in the digital age, so-called “lone actors” usually are and feel neither lonely nor alone. Some “lone-actor” attackers did not join any group since they thought they would be under government surveillance, but they felt part of a collective united by shared values, actions and enemies.
The trial of the Halle attacker (2020) and the Christchurch commission report (2020) indicated that neither intelligence services nor law enforcement nor the tech industry knew where to look for these digital lone actors or how to identify them online. Also, there was little awareness of the basic functionality (and abuse) of platforms, websites and other online services used by the perpetrators beyond Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Rechtsextreme vernetzen sich zunehmend international. Unser Gastautor berät die Bundesregierung, wie sie mit der daraus entstehenden Gefahr umgehen soll. Hier schlägt er mögliche Gegenstrategien vor. Ein Gastbeitrag von Alexander Ritzmann
The violent right-wing extremist and terrorist milieu in the United States and Europe has developed a distinctly transnational character in its activities and therefore presents an increasing security threat on both sides of the Atlantic.
In November 2020, the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) Germany concluded a larger scale research project focused on the transnational connectivity of violent right-wing extremism and terrorism in Europe and the United States. This research was conducted on behalf of the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany and analyzed in a comparative manner the situation in France, Germany, Finland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
„But even on mainstream platforms, acts of violence had been openly advocated. In a TikTok video, one Trump supporter asked his fellows to bring their guns to the protests.
For that reason, the escalation in violence could have hardly come as a surprise to US authorities, says Alexander Ritzmann, a consultant to the European Commissions Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) and advisor to the Counter Extremism Project (CEP).
“They must have known,” Ritzmann told EURACTIV Germany. According to public FBI documents, the Bureau has been closely following the activities of online groups such as QAnon, a loose collective of conspiracy theorists who believe Donald Trump is their only saviour from the villains among Washington’s “elite”.
The FBI considers QAnon and other “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists” as a terrorist threat.
In Brussels, lawmakers are finalising a regulation on terrorist content online (TCO). Among other things, it will introduce a stricter notice-and-action-system which will force platforms to delete terrorist content within an hour of notification.
However, Ritzmann believes that any system relying on notice-and-action cannot be sufficient as long as platforms can lean back and wait until users or authorities ask them to act.“
This study focuses on the transnational connections of the violent extreme right-wing milieus in six countries: Finland, France, Germany, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States. It was commissioned by the German Federal Foreign Office, Division “International Cooperation against Terrorism, Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime and Corruption”, in 2020.
Diese Studie befasst sich mit den transnationalen Verbindungen der gewaltorientierten rechtsextremen Milieus in sechs Ländern: Finnland, Frankreich, Deutschland, Schweden, Vereinigtes Königreich und den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika. Sie wurde vom Referat „Internationale Zusammenarbeit gegen Terrorismus, Drogenhandel, organisierte Kriminalität und Drogenhandel” des Auswärtigen Amts in Auftrag gegeben.