ADL to Add (((Echo))) Symbol, Used by Anti-Semites on Twitter, to Online Hate Symbols Database

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New York, NY, June 6, 2016 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) announced today that it is adding the triple parentheses – or stylized (((echo))) symbol, the latest gimmick used by white supremacists and anti-Semites to single out Jews on Twitter and other social media -- to the ADL “Hate on Display” online hate symbols database.

“The echo symbol is the online equivalent of tagging a building with anti-Semitic graffiti or taunting someone verbally,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “We at ADL take this manifestation of online hate seriously, and that’s why we’re adding this symbol to our database and working with our partners in the tech industry to investigate this phenomenon more deeply.”

Extremists and haters were using the echo symbol, which originated in an anti-Semitic podcast in 2014, to highlight the names of those perceived to be Jewish and singling them out for harassment both online and off.  But in the past few days a number of Jewish users on Twitter have co-opted the parenthesis and used them around their names in a show of solidarity with those targeted by neo-Nazis and other extremists.

Over the past several weeks, the echo symbol has been used by white supremacists and others as part of a pattern of harassment against a group of journalists including Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic, Jonathan Weisman of the New York Times, Julia Ioffe of GQ, and Bethany Mandel of the New York Post and Ben Shapiro of The Daily Wire.

In response to this harassment, ADL last week announced the formation of its Task Force on Harassment of Journalists. Building on ADL’s decades of experience in monitoring and exposing hate and hate groups, as well as its central role in working with the Internet industry to address online hate, the Task Force will seek insights from a group of outside experts and from fields including journalism, law enforcement, academia, technology, and nongovernmental organizations. Advisors to date include Steve Coll, the Dean of the Columbia Journalism School, Brad Hamm, Dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, and noted journalist Leon Wieseltier, among others.

Last week, Google removed an anti-Semitic “Coincidence Detector” browser extension from its Chrome Web Store that was apparently being employed by extremists and anti-Semites to track Jews.  The browser app used the three parentheses “echoes” symbol to single out those identified as Jews or having presumed Jewish last names such as “Rogen” or “Lieberman.”  It was removed last week after ADL and others notified Google that the app was in violation of the company’s hate speech policies.

ADL founded the Hate on Display database in October 2000 as part of its effort to track hate groups and help law enforcement, educators and other members of the public to identify those symbols that serve as potential calling cards of extremists and anti-Semites.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.