In the past 18 months online racist abuse and hate speech have increased tremendously in Germany, a new report by the anti-racism foundation Antonio Amadeu Stiftung (AAS) has revealed.
“The monitoring report reveals that the agitation is intensifying in the social media,” DW quoted AAS chairwoman Anetta Kahane to have said.
The report also shows that there has been an increase in agitation from across the political spectrum against authorities, the media, and NGOs. There is also a growing mistrust of the mainstream media and politicians.
“On the social web we are observing the building up of a dangerous front from different political spectrums, but which are increasingly finding a common denominator, and that is ‘hate against the system’,” Kahane said. “What is noticeable: the longer that agitation on the Internet against refugees continues, the more often one finds conspiracy-ideological statements. Politicians become ‘traitors,’ journalists are defamed as ‘lying press’ and supporters from civil society are described as ‘dirty leftist do-gooders’.”
Far-right groups, according to the report, have of late been setting up websites and Facebook profiles to appeal specifically to the middle classes. Such sites and Facebook profiles are generating support for the populist right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD).
Johannes Baldauf, one of the authors of the report, said more extremist organizations were behind such sites. “If the NPD [far-right National Democratic Party] says something like, ‘we’re against refugees,’ then it’s very clear for people – that’s a taboo,” he said. “But if someone else comes along and says, ‘I’m really concerned if so many refugees come, there will be problems with drugs and they want to attack our women,’ then it has a different effect, even though the content is the same. But if there is an NPD logo there, then a lot fewer people listen.”