Social media posts calling for attacks on police and destruction of property have surged in the months since the death of a Black man in police custody in Minneapolis, indicating left-wing groups are using the platforms to coordinate offline activity, an organization that tracks activity on the cyber channels said in a report released Monday.
The Network Contagion Research Institute, which bills itself as "a neutral and independent third party" nonprofit to "track, expose, and combat misinformation, deception, manipulation, and hate" in social media pointed to messages July 25 related to rioting in Seattle and Portland, Oregon.
In its report, "Network-Enabled Anarchy: How Militant Anarcho-Socialist Networks Use Social Media to Instigate Widespread Violence Against Political Opponents and Law Enforcement," NCRI expressed particular concern about the growing use of "memes and humorous codewords that dehumanize targets (police, in particular) proliferated in tandem with the recent protest events."
Phrases such as ACAB, or all cops are bastards, and FTP, or fight the police, increased in use exponentially it said, such as 300% on Reddit and 1,000% on Twitter following the death of George Floyd on Memorial Day.
"We find evidence of innovative cyber strategies being used on Twitter by anarchist networks and shared by socialist forums on Reddit: for example, links for 3-D printed weapons, instructions for using laser technology to blind targets, and real-time online coordination of offline rioting and anti-police violence such as setting fires, throwing projectiles, and using fireworks/munitions," the report said
"We find evidence that violent anarcho-socialist networks played an active online role in preparing for and coordinating real world riots nation-wide and in real time."
Additionally, left-wing networks on Facebook grew in number with names such groups John Brown Gun Club, Redneck Revolt and the Socialist Rifle Association.
"We don't know enough about it to know just how dangerous it is, and we don't know enough to know how dangerous it can become," said NCRI executive director Joel Finkelstein, a co-author of the report, to The Washington Post.
The report makes only two mentions of the antifa, or antifacist, movement in the report, once in a footnote.
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