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Hitler Youth

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[5]

Bara­boo High School Junior Prom pho­to­graph.

COMMENT: This soci­ety has been sow­ing the Nazi and fas­cist winds for a long time. Fail­ing to come to terms with the Nazi and fas­cist sym­pa­thies of Amer­i­can indus­tri­al­ists who financed Hitler, the incor­po­ra­tion of the Nazi SS into the CIA via the Gehlen org, and the incor­po­ra­tion of East­ern and Cen­tral Euro­pean SS-allied fas­cists into the GOP has borne its inevitable fruit.

Now it will be reap­ing the Nazi whirl­wind.

An extreme­ly pop­u­lar chil­dren’s lip-synch­ing app called Tik­Tok has incor­po­rat­ed mur­der­ous­ly racist invec­tive against peo­ple of col­or and Jews, in addi­tion to shar­ing overt­ly Nazi pro­pa­gan­da.

Even as offi­cial­dom and the media down­play or out­right dis­miss the Junior Prom pho­to from Bara­boo High School, we should expect things to become dra­mat­i­cal­ly worse.

Time grows short. Tik Tok!

1. “Tik­Tok Has a Nazi Prob­lem” by Joseph Cox; Vice Moth­er­board; 2/18/2018. [6]

Users on mega pop­u­lar children’s lip-synch­ing app Tik­Tok [7] are shar­ing calls for vio­lence against peo­ple of colour and Jews, as well as cre­at­ing and shar­ing neo-Nazi pro­pa­gan­da, Moth­er­board has found.

Some accounts ver­ba­tim read “kill all n*****,” “all jews must die,” and “killn******.” (The words are uncen­sored on the app, which is a sort of meld­ing of Vine and Insta­gram that allows users to cre­ate short videos synced to music.)

Moth­er­board found the con­tent on the Chi­nese-made app, which is used by hun­dreds of mil­lions peo­ple, many includ­ing teenagers and chil­dren in the Unit­ed States, with­in min­utes of start­ing a basic search.

“We’ve nev­er talked to Tik Tok, but clear­ly we need to,” Hei­di Beirich, direc­tor of the intel­li­gence project at the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter (SPLC), told Moth­er­board in an email. “They need the site to be cleaned up—and now.”

The news sig­nals social media plat­forms’ con­tin­ued reck­on­ing with hate speech [8]. But even with Face­book mis­han­dling its approach to white nation­al­ism [9], and Dis­cord pro­vid­ing a haven [10] for seri­ous neo-Nazi groups, Tik­Tok is doing a par­tic­u­lar­ly bad job at mod­er­at­ing white suprema­cists on its plat­form.

The hate speech mate­r­i­al on Tik­Tok is var­ied. Some accounts sig­naled sup­port for Atom­waf­fen, a vio­lent neo-Nazi group [11] linked to the mur­ders of sev­er­al Jew­ish peo­ple across the Unit­ed States. One account Moth­er­board found was called “Race War Now.” The user pro­file pho­to of anoth­er account was of an offen­sive car­i­ca­ture of a Jew­ish per­son, depict­ing a greedy rat.

One video con­tained a suc­ces­sion of users mak­ing Nazi salutes. Anoth­er video includ­ed the mes­sage, “I have a solu­tion; a final solu­tion,” refer­ring to the Holo­caust.

Hash­tags include 1488, a num­ber impor­tant to neo-Nazis, and Sieg Heil, the infa­mous Nazi slo­gan.

One Tik­Tok video Moth­er­board found, which encour­ages view­ers to read Siege, a book pop­u­lar with neo-Nazis, includ­ed the hash­tag #FreeDy­lan­nRoof. Roof was giv­en nine con­sec­u­tive life sen­tences for the mas­sacre of nine African Amer­i­cans at the his­tor­i­cal­ly Black Emanuel African Methodist Epis­co­pal Church in Charleston, South Car­oli­na in 2015.

“It’s just out­ra­geous and dan­ger­ous, giv­en how many young peo­ple, like Dylann Roof, have been rad­i­cal­ized online and then shift­ed to vio­lence,” Beirich said.

Tik­Tok merged with the app Musical.ly in August [12], after ByteDance pur­chased the lat­ter in 2017. The app has gar­nered wide praise both from its army of users and media out­lets; the New York Times recent­ly described Tik­Tok [13] as “the only good app,” and the Verge called it “joy­ful.” [14]

When con­tact­ed by Moth­er­board, Tik­Tok did not pro­vide a state­ment in time for pub­li­ca­tion.

Beirich said what Moth­er­board found “is hor­ri­fy­ing. That is espe­cial­ly true since this ser­vice tar­gets chil­dren and I can’t think of worse things to be putting in front of them.” Some of the peo­ple in and shar­ing the offen­sive videos appear to be chil­dren. Some of the accounts say that the posts are a “joke” or “iron­ic,” but as Moth­er­board has report­ed mul­ti­ple times, these “jokes” can and do rad­i­cal­ize real peo­ple [10] and nonethe­less harm already mar­gin­al­ized groups [15].

Car­o­line Sin­ders, research fel­low with Dig­i­tal HKS [16], who has stud­ied online extrem­ism, told Moth­er­board in an online chat, “I don’t think it mat­ters even if some­thing is a humor­ous joke in meme cul­ture, I think it’s impor­tant to a cen­ter a platform’s poli­cies on harass­ment and hate speech.”

“‘killallni****s’ isn’t a joke; I would argue it is a form of hate speech,” she added.

Some accounts do com­plain about being report­ed by oth­er users. One user who com­plained as such host­ed a video of some­one in a Klu-Klux Klan style cloaks.

At the time of writ­ing, TikTok’s terms of use [17] state that “Tik­Tok is an inclu­sive com­mu­ni­ty. It is not ok to attack or incite vio­lence against oth­er users.”

Moth­er­board has pre­vi­ous­ly found oth­er con­tent mod­er­a­tion issues with Tik­Tok. Ear­li­er this month, Moth­er­board found peo­ple were solic­it­ing [7] nude images of young users on the plat­form.

ByteDance recent­ly said it would increase the num­ber [18] of con­tent mod­er­a­tors on Tik­Tok from 6,000 to 10,000 peo­ple.

Cor­rec­tion: This arti­cle pre­vi­ous­ly said Tik­Tok merged with an app called Music.ly. The cor­rect name is Musical.ly. Moth­er­board regrets the error.

2.   “Wis­con­sin School­boys in Nazi Salute Pho­to ‘Shout­ed White Pow­er after Trump Elect­ed’, For­mer Stu­dent Claims” by Tom Embury-Den­nis [The Inde­pen­dent]Yahoo News; 11/13/2018. [19]

For­mer stu­dents at a Wis­con­sin school caught up in a Nazi salute storm [20] have spo­ken out about a trou­bled his­to­ry of racism and intol­er­ance among stu­dents, and a will­ing­ness among staff to turn a blind eye.

Police announced on Mon­day they were inves­ti­gat­ing after a pho­to emerged on social media [21] show­ing dozens of pupils — most­ly 16 and 17 — from Bara­boo High School appar­ent­ly per­form­ing the “Sieg Heil” greet­ing dur­ing their junior prom.

One for­mer stu­dent at the school in Bara­boo, a town of around 12,000 peo­ple, said she knew some of the boys in the pho­to and that their behav­iour was “def­i­nite­ly not sur­pris­ing”.

“Some of the boys in this pho­to are noto­ri­ous at our school for this kind of behav­iour,” said the 19-year-old, who grad­u­at­ed ear­li­er this year and wished to remain anony­mous. “The day after Don­ald Trump [22] was elect­ed, some of the boys in the pho­to were shout­ing “white pow­er” in the hall­ways and telling the ESL (Eng­lish as a sec­ond lan­guage) stu­dents to go back to their own coun­tries.

“I went to a school offi­cial, the only one that would meet with me, and I was told to tough­en up, that there was noth­ing he could do because it was the boy’s first amend­ment right and he wasn’t harm­ing any­one.

“He then pro­ceed­ed to tell me to watch videos of Black Lives Mat­ter [23] pro­tes­tors being hos­tile to police. I was stunned, and upset, and didn’t pur­sue it fur­ther because of the response I got when ask­ing for help.”

She con­tin­ued: “Basi­cal­ly, these boys use their priv­i­lege in hor­ri­ble ways, know­ing there will be no harsh con­se­quences for their actions.”

The image of the teenagers per­form­ing the Nazi salute first sur­faced on Twit­ter after it was shared by an account named “Wel­come to Bara­boo”. The post – now delet­ed – was cap­tioned: “We even got the black kid to throw it up.”

A for­mer stu­dent who grad­u­at­ed in 2016 told The Inde­pen­dent the Twit­ter account which post­ed the image was used to satirise the school and tra­di­tion­al­ly con­trolled by one or two senior stu­dents – includ­ing by him in his final year.

But this year, “essen­tial­ly the entire senior class was giv­en admin­is­tra­tive access to the page”, allow­ing any­one to post on the social media plat­form.

The fact the pho­to was tak­en on the steps of the coun­ty cour­t­house, he said, was “almost sym­bol­ic of the sys­temic prob­lem” Bara­boo is fac­ing.

Oth­er cur­rent and for­mer stu­dents shared their sto­ries of the school with jour­nal­ist Jules Suz­dalt­sev [24] after he post­ed the pho­to on Twit­ter.

“The use of the n‑word was pret­ty com­mon among white stu­dents,” one said, while anoth­er who grad­u­at­ed this year said their four years at the school was “full of hear­ing the n‑word shout­ed down the hall and deal­ing with homo­pho­bia”.

In the pho­to, the huge major­i­ty of the group appear to be white, and all but a few appear to per­form­ing the salute.

Only one teenag­er in the pic­ture is nei­ther per­form­ing the salute, nor laugh­ing. He told Mr Suz­dalt­sev he felt “uncom­fort­able” when the pic­ture was tak­en and was unable to leave as it hap­pened too fast. He said the pho­tog­ra­ph­er asked the stu­dents to make the sign.

“I knew what my morals were and it was not to salute some­thing I firm­ly didn’t believe in,” he said. “I attend BHS (Bara­boo High School), these class­mates have bul­lied me since enter­ing mid­dle school, I have strug­gled with it my entire life and noth­ing has changed.”

Bara­boo High School and the com­pa­ny alleged­ly hired to take the pho­to­graph have been con­tact­ed for com­ment.

“Unfor­tu­nate­ly, based on what these stu­dents see com­ing from the White House, some of them may believe what they have done is accept­able,” Jon Erben­bach, a Demo­c­ra­t­ic Wis­con­sin sen­a­tor, said about the pho­to.

“It is absolute­ly not. Lead­ers, from the pres­i­dent on down, need to con­demn racism in all its forms and work toward a world where we learn from the mis­takes of his­to­ry.”