Earlier this week I received a question from someone on Twitter about what it meant if someone tweeted her name enclosed in parentheses. I had no idea what it meant, but I was soon educated.
NeoNazis are using Twitter to target Jewish reporters and others with Jewish surnames via a Chrome app specifically developed for this purpose, and to then harass and troll them on social media.
Mic.com explains what an "echo" is:
Neo-Nazis, anti-Semites and white nationalists have begun using three sets of parentheses encasing a Jewish surname — for instance, (((Fleishman))) — to identify and target Jews for harassment on blogs and major social media sites like Twitter. As one white supremacisttweeted, "It's closed captioning for the Jew-blind."
Now there's a Chrome app for that, thanks to anti-Semite and Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopolous, among others. When installed, it encloses names in its database inside three parentheses to alert trolls that the person is Jewish and a target for their harassment.
The Daily Beast took a look at the app in more detail, finding that even Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner was caught in the net.
Typing the (((echoes))) symbol around a name acts like a corrupted anti-Semitic trigger warning and flags its targets as Jewish or “anti-white” to other bigoted users. Since most sites strip parentheses and other punctuation from search results, it is extremely difficult to find specific instances on social media, making it challenging to trace patterns of abuse.
When The Daily Beast examined the Chrome app, it also emerged that a list of named Jewish actors, directors, and media figures were being targeted.
New York Times deputy editor Jonathan Weisman was targeted and subjected to a flood of attacks, threats and more.
"With the cat belled, the horde was unleashed," Weisman wrote of the harassment. "I was served an image of the gates of Auschwitz, the famous words “Arbeit Macht Frei” replaced without irony with “Machen Amerika Great.” Holocaust taunts, like a path of dollar bills leading into an oven, were followed by Holocaust denial. The Jew as leftist puppet master from @DonaldTrumpLA was joined by the Jew as conservative fifth columnist, orchestrating war for Israel."
Welcome to 2016, where technology is used to brand Jews with the 21st-century version of a Holocaust badge.
As of this writing, Google seems to have pulled the app from their store. But I doubt that will change the behavior. This election season has unleashed dark and malevolent forces in the flesh and online. It doesn't seem as though it will end soon.
Maybe we ALL should volunteer to add some noise to their signal. So I did this:
Changed my screen name to stand in solidarity with those being targeted by anti-Semitic Chrome apps. https://t.co/fNR99Av6oG
— (((Karoli))) (@Karoli) June 3, 2016