(Photo : Pexels/Pixabay) Facebook sites
Neo-Nazis are still active online, and they are taking a different form. In Europe, the right-wing extremists are part of a premier martial arts group.
Neo-Nazis are Making Money Online
The German authorities have banned the tournament of the martial arts group twice. However, the Kampf der Nibelungen, or Battle of the Nibelungs, is still active on Facebook, according to GlobalNews.
The organizers of the martial arts group maintain multiple pages, including on YouTube and Instagram, which they use to spread their ideology, recruit new members, and make money by selling merchandise and tickets.
The Battle of the Nibelungs is one of the dozens of right-wingers that continue to use social media sites for profit despite the platforms' repeated promise to remove them from their respective websites.
Currently, 54 Facebook profiles belong to 39 groups. According to The Associated Press, these groups have been flagged as extremist by the German government and civil society groups.
The extremist groups have nearly 268,000 friends on Facebook.
The civil society groups also discovered 39 Instagram profiles related to the group, 16 Twitter accounts, and 34 YouTube channels. The channels have more than 9.5 million views.
Almost 60% of the social media profiles were aimed at making money. They display links to online shops or pictures that promote their products.
The shops of the right-wingers include T-shirts with tags that say, "My favorite color is white" and "Refugees not welcome." The t-shirts cost $23. There are also stickers available for $3 and skull faces for $7.
Meanwhile, the Facebook feed of One People One Struggle or OPOS Records is filled with new music and merchandise promotion, including "Pride & Dignity," "True Aggression," and "One Family" shirts. They also have their own Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Counter Extremism Project or CEP, a group that combats extremists, has created a dataset that shows the groups in Germany considered far-right, according to Reuters.
According to Alexander Ritzmann, the researcher of CEP, extremist groups create an infrastructure where they can meet people, recruit them, and make money.
The leaders of these groups are not the ones who commit violent crimes. Instead, they build the narratives and foster the activities where the violence happens.
CEP stated that it is focused on groups that want to overthrow democratic institutions like protecting minorities and freedom of the press. These groups are the ones who believe that the white race is "under siege" and needs to be "protected."
So far, no one has been banned, but almost all of the groups have been described in intelligence reports as extremist.
On Facebook, the groups avoid blatant violations of the platform's rules, like using hate speed or posting Nazi symbols as they are illegal in Germany.
By working its way around the rules of the social media platforms, Germany's far-right groups use the power of social media to promote their group, their merchandise, festivals, events, music labels, and tournaments that can generate millions in sales. These groups can also connect people who have the same mindset.
However, cutting off these groups online could have damaging consequences. The CEP is careful not to ban people based on who they are, as they must only be banned on what they do online because otherwise, they are tampering with the group's freedom of speech.
In the United States, Neo-Nazis used Steam to manage far-right communities, leading to the arrest of a member from Virginia.
Other social media sites, like Discord, have been doing cleanups by removing Neo-Nazi communities.
Written by Sophie Webster