From the Associated Press:
Now, the far-right group mentioned by confessed Norway gunman Anders Behring Breivikas an inspiration says its ranks have swollen to more than 10,000 people, a spectacular rise its leaders attribute to the immense global power of Facebook and other social networking sites.
“I knew that social networking sites were the way to go,” EDL leader Stephen Lennon told The Associated Press. “But to say that we inspired this lunatic to do what he did is wrong. We’ve never once told our supporters its alright to go out and be violent.”
A Facebook page under Breivik’s name was taken down shortly after the attacks last week. A Twitter account under his name had only one Tweet, on July 17, loosely citing English philosopher John Stuart Mill: “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests.”
Norwegian investigators have pored through data on Breivik’s computer and say they now believe he was acting alone. They have also said they haven’t found any links of concern between Breivik and far right British groups such as the EDL.
In addition to Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter, the Internet hosts thousands of forums for far-left, far-right and other extremist groups. In Germany alone, far-right groups ran some 1,000 websites and 38 online radio stations as of late last year with many aimed at recruiting followers. Social networking sites, complete with politically charged music, are particularly drawing younger audiences who increasingly get their information outside of traditional media.
Extremists “still favor online chat platforms — often with several hundred participants — but they are increasingly turning to social media,” said Germany’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which called the danger of recruitment “considerable.”
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