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Right Now People Are Pretty Fragile.' Coronavirus Creates Perfect Breeding Ground for Online Idiots

Accepted submission by aristarchus at 2020-03-27 04:26:37 from the Panic now, avoid the rush later. dept.

From Time [], home of the Greta Person of the Year, still not Trump.

MARCH 26, 2020
When Mak Kapetanovic reads people’s jokey tweets and Facebook messages about the prospect of self-isolation with overbearing relatives as COVID-19 traverses the globe, he wants to see the funny side. But mostly, he feels a sense of deep disquiet. The 23-year-old anthropology student understands how feelings of loneliness, anger and alienation can consume you. And he knows the very dark places they can take you.

A few years ago, seeking refuge from uncertainty and turmoil, Kapetanovic found himself sucked into the narratives of white supremacist groups online. Now he fears the same conditions that sent him on the path to hate are fomenting in homes across the world.

“If people who are self-isolating together are angry at each other and not talking, that would be pretty bad,” says Kapetanovic from his home in Jacksonville, Florida. He worries that tensions at home would compound an environment already fraught with fear and confusion. “Feelings of isolation, anger, grief and frustration, all of those things are happening. A lot of people are scared, and people are not sure what to think.”

“It is the far right who always seem to take advantage of these insecurities,” he adds.

Millions of people around the world are now stuck in their homes, consumed by worry and fear and contending with a barrage of misinformation over a virus which seems to have changed their lives overnight. Some politicians seek scapegoats in marginalized communities and ethnic groups, with the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban blaming migrants and President Donald Trump provoking outrage with his “Chinese flu” comments. And during long, isolated days, many people seek distraction online— companies are reporting a 12 to 15% increase in Internet use — and much of that time is spent in poorly regulated Internet forums and on social media.

People working across counter-extremism are raising the alarm at the potential for hate groups to exploit this fearful and confusing situation. Brad Galloway, a specialist with the support group Life After Hate, has been monitoring far right forums and has already seen an alarming number of anti-Semitic, xenophobic and racist posts related to COVID-19.

“They pray[sic] upon any kind of societal or community division,” he explains. “Right now people are pretty fragile, and this is the time that they will try to take advantage.”

  Why not Millennials know homophones? Oh, well, but still main point taken.

Galloway says a sub-set of the white supremacist movement known as accelerationists seem to be the ones mobilizing the most. The coronavirus pandemic plays into their narrative of fermenting social unrest to provoke conflict and bring about an “end of days” scenario, whereby current regimes can be replaced with white supremacist societies.

Or, a bunch of illiterate Trump supporters, saying "Make Americia Grate Anon!"

When Mak Kapetanovic looks back on his years in white supremacist circles, he wishes there had been more people around to help break his loneliness – and urges people to make sure they are there for each other as world events take this dark turn. “Check up on your friends and make sure everyone is doing OK,” he says.

Goes double for Soylentils. Some one should check in on Ethanol, IRL, doesn't sound like he is handling this all that well. And Runaway, stuck in Rural Arkansas, which cannot be good for anyone. And khallow, since Jellystone just shut down and there are no more pikinic baskets.

Stay strong, Solyent! Resist the Death Eaters! They are now among us, and controlling the Senate!

Original Submission