Google removes anti-Semitic app used to target Jews online
The product description of the now-disappeared Google extension said it would help users identify “who has been involved in certain political movements and media empires.”
Coincidence Detector, the innocuous name of the Google Chrome internet browser extension created by a user identified as “altrightmedia,” enclosed names that its algorithm deemed Jewish in triple parentheses. The symbol — called an “(((echo)))” — allows white nationalists and neo-Nazis to more easily aim their anti-Semitic vitriol.
The extension was exposed Thursday in an article on the tech website Mic by two reporters who had been targets of anti-Semitic harassment online. Google confirmed that evening that it had removed the extension from the Chrome Web Store, citing violation of its hate speech policy, which forbids “promotions of hate or incitement of violence.”
The Mic reporters traced the triple-parentheses symbol to a right-wing blog called The Right Stuff and its affiliated podcast, The Daily Shoah, starting in 2014. The parentheses are a visual depiction of the echo sound effect the podcast hosts used to announce Jewish names.
The echo has now emerged as a weapon in the arsenal of the so-called “alt-right,” an amorphous, primarily online conservative movement that has been become more visible and vocal in the midst of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
“Some use the symbol to mock Jews,” the Mic article explains of the echo. “Others seek to expose supposed Jewish collusion in controlling media or politics. All use it to put a target on their heads.”
One neo-Nazi Twitter user provided a succinct explanation to The Atlantic magazine national correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg, who added the parentheses to his Twitter handle to mock the trend.
The product description of the now-disappeared Google extension said it would help users identify “who has been involved in certain political movements and media empires.” The use of the term “coincidence” was meant to be ironic.
The Coincidence Detector had nearly 2,500 users and a five out of five stars rating. There was a suggestions tab to submit Jewish names to be added to the algorithm.
Mic was tipped off to the use of the echo after Jonathan Weisman, an editor at The New York Times, retweeted a Washington Post article called “This is How Fascism Comes to America,” a scathing indictment of Trump.
Weisman asked one of his harassers, @CyberTrump, to explain the symbol. ‘It’s a dog whistle, fool,’ the user responded. ‘Belling the cat for
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