Four years ago, a terrorist killed 51 people and devastated the lives of many others in an attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. We remember and mourn those lost to this and other attacks inspired by right-wing ideology and hate since then. The Christchurch attack represented the result of substantial growth in mainstreamed right-wing extremist ideology globally in the 2010s, from anti-refugee rhetoric in the form of the Great Replacement conspiracy theory, to an emboldened digital extreme right.
The attack prompted greater efforts to combat right-wing extremism globally, especially online. While governments had been focussed on Islamist terrorism since the 2000s, the brutality of this attack served as a wake-up call to take right-wing terrorism seriously. These efforts include the Christchurch Call, where ISD’s CEO, Sasha Havlicek, has sat on its Advisory Network since its inception. We co-lead work to address the algorithmic amplification of content that may lead to violent extremist & terrorist material.
In 2021, ISD’s landmark report on hate speech and extremism on TikTok, Hatescape, found that footage from the Christchurch terrorist’s video of the event was available on TikTok along with material praising the shooter. On the 4th anniversary of the attack, we repeated this research. Within only hours, Senior Analyst Ciaran O’Connor and Head of US Research Melanie Smith found 53 pieces of content featuring support for the terrorist. Their research is available on our website now.
Four years after Christchurch, there is still substantial work to be done to make the world safer from violent extremism, terrorism, and hateful ideologies that seek to divide people and undermine universal human rights.
Also in this newsletter:
- BBC Panorama research: Misogyny & abuse on Twitter before and after Elon Musk’s takeover
- Countering pro-Kremlin disinformation targeting Ukrainian refugees in Germany
- ‘Climate lockdown’ Explainer
- The ‘Great Reset’ Explainer
- ISD’s Jennie King on tackling climate disinformation at first-ever European Parliament hearing on topic
- ISD researchers feature in ABC News, Bloomberg, Euronews Green and the BBC.