...describes the rapidly expanding practice utilized by racists and extremists to
place anti-Semitic, racist, and other hateful
material on the World Wide Web. The growth of the Internet has enabled bigoted and
sometimes violent messages to reach a much wider and broader audience than ever before.
Consequently, these messages of hate have become widely accessible online - in homes,
offices, schools, and libraries.
For years extremists have used printing of every kind -- books, pamphlets, posters,
newspapers, magazines -- to get their message out. They have also tried to use modern
inventions such as movies. radio, television, recorded audio and video tape and even
telephone messages to spread their beliefs. So it is not surprising that they have decided
to take their hate to the Internet. The Internet lets them reach millions with a click of
Haters use the World Wide Web with its colorful web
pages, sounds, and images to push propaganda attacking their enemies. Some of these
pages suggest that violent action is needed. Old lies are reprinted and new ones are
created. Neo-Nazi Skinheads try to sell the latest CDs filled with calls for "racial
In newsgroups and chat rooms on Internet Relay Chat
(IRC) they can talk to one another. They also can try to peddle their racist and
anti-Semitic messages to anyone who surfs in. In addition, they can write private e-mail
to the people they meet on line.
People who had only heard about such ideas can now read
them up-close and personal. Pictures of burning crosses, claims that groups with a
particular skin color or religion are inferior, the assertion that others are out to
control the world - this is the stuff of hate group propaganda. Haters used to reach
relatively few people. Today, on the Internet, they can reach a very large audience with
little effort and money.
It is fairly easy to create a simple Web page. Many bigots
have. They often try to create the false impression that many people are involved in their
activities. This frightens their targets and encourages supporters.
The number of racists and anti-Semites is small compared
to the rest of the population; in addition, they are fairly spread out. Yet, on the
Internet, they can find people who think like them, which strengthens their beliefs and
makes them feel less isolate.
Because extremists on the Internet can hide their real
identity behind screen names and addresses (like anyone else), they feel free to attack
those they hate. They realize there is no way for anyone to know who they are.