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Researcher says antisocial networking on the -

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Reporter: Simon Lauder

PETER CAVE: An antiracism group says the phenomenon of social networking online is proving a boon
for extremists and race-hate groups.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center says the internet is already the prime tool for spreading hate, and
social networking is allowing groups to do it quicker and more effectively. Sites like Facebook and
Myspace are being urged to do more to crack down on racist material.

Simon Lauder reports.

SIMON LAUDER: It's called social networking, but sites like Facebook and Myspace are also open to
people whose intentions are what you might call antisocial.

ABRAHAM COOPER: The sophisticated racist and bigot, and terrorist, looks at these fantastic new
technologies and they're right there using them and deploying them in pursuit of finding recruits
and support for their cause.

SIMON LAUDER: Rabbi Abraham Cooper has run the Simon Wiesenthal Center's digital terrorism and hate
project for more than a decade. In 1995 it noted the emergence of the internet's first race-hate

Rabbi Cooper has just presented the project's latest findings, in New York.

ABRAHAM COOPER: We're above the 10,000 mark in terms of problematic websites, blogs, other
postings, and increasingly the social networks, especially Facebook and YouTube.

SIMON LAUDER: Rabbi Cooper says the emergence of extremist websites has kept pace with the
expansion of the internet. But Facebook's sophisticated network is a new opportunity to recruit
people to any cause and bring more traffic to external websites.

ABRAHAM COOPER: And the way the organised groups use Facebook, is to you know, have individuals
post, but then you're allowed to put a direct link to websites and other kinds of internet
postings. So it's used as a, both as a marketing tool, and as a way to denigrate the enemy.

SIMON LAUDER: In Australia, law enforcement is an effective tool against online racism. Just
yesterday the Federal Court sentenced the Adelaide-based Holocaust denier Frederick Toben to three
months jail for contempt of court, after finding him guilty of continuing to publish anti-Semitic
material on his website.

And in Perth a 39-year-old man has just been charged with conduct intended to incite racial
animosity, because of a video which was posted on the website YouTube.

Electronic Frontiers Australia, which monitors online freedoms and rights, says social networking
is a long way from becoming antisocial networking. Vice-chair, Colin Jacobs, says it's up to the
site hosts to keep it that way.

COLIN JACOBS: Now is it the case that Facebook is being rendered completely useless and taken over
by racists? I don't think that's the case, I don't think anyone is contending that's the case. You
know, how many resources should Facebook or a similar website devote to it, I think that's a matter
for them.

SIMON LAUDER: But Rabbi Abraham Cooper from the Simon Wiesenthal Center says the greatest increase
in digital hate has emerged on Facebook and YouTube, and despite the best intentions, their
administrators can't keep up.

ABRAHAM COOPER: And in fact, Facebook and other companies have very excellent terms of usage, so
Facebook says if you promote violence, if you promote hate, we're going to throw you off. The
problem is, what happens when you have 200-million users, how does Facebook, or YouTube for that
matter, get ahead of the curve?

SIMON LAUDER: What more needs to be done?

ABRAHAM COOPER: Well that's a very good question. It falls to the companies, I think we're going to
need to spend some more effort, perhaps some more manpower.

SIMON LAUDER: RMIT University's Dr Asha Rao is an expert on internet security. She says the social
networking sites could have a lot to lose if they don't keep racists and extremists at bay.

ASHA RAO: The possibility of them actually keeping up with it is very difficult, but if they don't
actually actively try and reduce it, they are going to lose customers.

SIMON LAUDER: Facebook told the Simon Wiesenthal Center it's committed to removing racist material
and will continue to do so.

PETER CAVE: Simon Lauder reporting.