Digital Dog Whistles: The New Online Language of Extremism

Terrorists and extremists groups are communicating sometimes openly but very often in concealed formats. Recently Far-right extremists including white supremacist, anti-Semite groups, racists and neo-Nazis started using a coded “New Language”. Alarmed by police and security forces attempts to find them online and by the social platforms attempts to remove their contents, they try to apply the new language of codes and doublespeak. This study explores the emergence of a new language, the system of code words developed by Far-right extremists. What are the characteristics of this new language? How is it transmitted? How is it used? Our survey of online Far-right contents reveals the use of visual and textual codes for extremists. These hidden languages enable extremists to hide in plain sight and for others to easily identify like-minded individuals. There is no doubt that the “new language” used online by Far-right groups comprises all the known attributes of a language: It is very creative, productive and instinctive, uses exchanges of verbal or symbolic utterances shared by certain individuals and groups. These findings should serve both Law Enforcement and private sector bodies interested in preventing hate speech online.

Tags: codewords, Extremism, far-right, new language, Social Media