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Simon Wiesenthal Center tool tracks cyber extremism

April 2, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
In Toulouse, France, the Internet and social media are believed to have fed a killer's hatred. Mohammed Merah killed three Jewish school children, a rabbi and three paratroopers in March.

A recent survey found fewer than 50 percent of law enforcement agencies in the United States have a social media policy or monitor social networks regularly.

"The bad news is that the bad people, those who are promoting hate, those who are directly and indirectly involved in terrorism, understand the full power of the social networking as well," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center on Monday unveiled the first digital terror and hate report that can be accessed by law enforcement such as the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

There are 15,000 websites and social networking pages used by terrorists and hate groups to manipulate their brand of hatred. The center is universally recognized as an expert on such hate groups.

The center graded the social networking companies on their commitment to stop the use of their sites. YouTube was given a C-, Facebook an A- and for Twitter there was no grade.

"We're not sure that Twitter has yet begun to look at the challenge, the fact that terrorist groups, bigots and racists use Twitter exactly the way everyone else does," Cooper said.

Sheriff Lee Baca received the report and called it a long overdue tool for his department.

"It takes a lot of energy to locate in 600 million sites throughout the world these particular sites," he said.

One answer to potential lone wolves and terrorist is ad

The sheriff cites an ad to stop potential lone wolves and terrorists: "If you see something, say something."


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