New York, NY, June 24, 2019 …
ADL (the Anti-Defamation League), Moonshot CVE and the Gen Next Foundation today announced a partnership to counter white supremacist and jihadist activity online. The program, dubbed the Redirect Method, will use advertising to redirect individuals who search online for violent extremist material to content that exposes the falsehoods of extremist narratives and directs searchers to non-violent content.
This new effort borrows from best practices Moonshot CVE developed with Google for ISIS-related searches, and builds on the previous deployment of the Redirect Method USA – which the RAND Corporation found showedpromise – in partnership with the Gen Next Foundation.
“White supremacy is a global terror threat that’s increasing dramatically, in part due to its ability to spread online, but there have not been sufficient efforts at scale to counter them–from either the public or the private sector,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “We must deploy all of the tools at our disposal, including finding new ways to use technology for good, to aggressively counter the threat of online extremism and white supremacy.”
ADL, which has been carefully monitoring extremist activity for decades, is providing subject matter expertise and unique insights to lead the project. This will be coupled with Moonshot CVE’s technology to build and run 3,142 individual campaigns across all counties in the U.S. throughout a one-year period. The Gen Next Foundation is funding the project and will add additional private sector expertise. ADL expects the results will provide promising insight into how those interested in white supremacist ideology engage with online content and how commercial advertising technology can be adapted to fight extremism.
“Launching the Redirect Method in every county in the United States represents a major step forward in the fight against white nationalism and jihadism in the online space,” said Vidhya Ramalingam, Moonshot CVE Founder. “Even when terrorist material is removed from the internet, the person searching for it is left behind. The Redirect Method ensures that those vulnerable individuals are provided with an alternative in the form of positive and credible counter-content. We are proud to take on this fight in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League and the Gen Next Foundation.”
“Through the Redirect Method, we have learned about the similarities in the underlying narratives used by violent jihadis and violent white supremacists to radicalize and recruit youth online,” said Michael Davidson, CEO of Gen Next. “The interplay between these groups has been evolving rapidly and our ability to counter the threat depends on having access to the best data and the best partners. We are excited to welcome ADL to the partnership, and we look forward to leveraging their experience and expertise so that we can keep future generations safe.”
The data is clear: white supremacist threats are increasing. ADL research has found that of the 50 murders committed by extremists in 2018, all but one were linked to right-wing extremism and 78% were tied specifically to white supremacy. White supremacists have also recently stepped up efforts to spread their propaganda in person, distributing literature and holding events. According to recent ADL research, these efforts increased 182 percent in 2018, with 1,187 distributions, up from 421 total incidents reported in 2017. ADL’s Center on Extremism released a report on the broad trends in the growth of white supremacy and the populations who support the ideology.
As with ISIS and other extremist movements, white supremacists seek to spread their ideology and are using technology to do so, underscoring the urgency for innovative efforts like this. Partners for this initiative include ADL and the original Redirect Method team – Moonshot CVE and the Gen Next Foundation.
About Moonshot CVE
Moonshot CVE is a social enterprise specializing in countering violent extremism. They design new methodologies and technologies to enhance the capacity of their partners to respond effectively to violent extremism both online and offline. Moonshot CVE’s analysts, developers and project managers use fresh thinking and decades of experience from different sectors to respond to some of the world’s toughest problems with effective, scalable solutions. Their work ranges from software development and digital capacity building to leading global counter-messaging campaigns.
About the Gen Next Foundation
The Gen Next Foundation works to create opportunities and confront challenges that face future generations in the areas of education, economic opportunity, and global security. They aspire to solve the greatest generational challenges of our time using a unique hybrid of private sector and non-profit business models – called a venture philanthropy model.