Somewhere in the shadows of the internet, a cat and mouse game continues between online antisemitic groups and watchdogs monitoring and removing hate speech. The latest coded message came in the form of a Chrome extension that would add the echo symbol around names of Jewish heritage.
Google removed a Chrome extension that was being used by antisemites to add triple parentheses around the names of prominent Jewish public figures including Michael Bloomberg and New York Times journalist Jonathan Weisman.
“The echo symbol is the online equivalent of tagging a building with antisemites graffiti or taunting someone verbally,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL’s chief executive. “We at ADL take this manifestation of online hate seriously, and that’s why we’re adding this symbol to our database and working with our partners in the tech industry to investigate this phenomenon more deeply.”
The echo tag is hard to find and remove, because searches generally ignore punctuation marks. A Mic magazine report explains its use:
“In Right Stuff propaganda, you’ll often read that Jewish names ‘echo’. According to the blog’s lexicon page, ‘all Jewish surnames echo throughout history’. In other words, the supposed damage caused by Jewish people reverberates from decade to decade.” The parentheses are used to imply that same echo textually.
The Guardian reports on Twitter users who took matters into their own hands to fight back against the haters.
Formerly, the multiple parentheses around the name of a friend indicated nothing more sinister than a virtual hug.
Found in the Guardian here.