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The Aids Memorial

Opinion, As recent US atrocities show, the internet is enabling far-right conspiracies and attacks

Par John Naughton - 4 mn

Out 029 365
A vigil outside the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh after the shooting in October.Brendan Smialowski/AFP/ Getty Images

Before he started shooting worshippers in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on 27 October , the alleged killer, Robert Bowers, had made his intentions crystal clear on social media . “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered,” he wrote. “Screw your optics, I’m going in.” Subsequent investigation showed that this was just the culmination of a series of rants in which he had given vent to the anti semitic hatred that motivated him. “There is no #MAGA as long as there is a [Jewish] infestation,” was a typical example. His online profile contained the slogan “ jews are the children of satan”.

These sentiments were expressed not on Facebook or Twitter – because not even those two spineless services would tolerate them – but on Gab.com, a social media site set up by a “free speech ” activist in the summer of 2016 after Milo Yiannopoulos , a notorio...