Media Matters for America noted the account for Paul Escandon, an associate of far-right personality Nick Fuentes, was promoting his movie about Fuentes and other hate content on his Instagram page. Escandon and other pages linked to Fuentes used sanitized language to avoid Instagram moderation filters.
Nick Fuentes, a known white nationalist streamer who pushes Holocaust denial conspiracies and other anti-Semitic hate, has a lingering, if not growing presence across social media. He has followers subtly spreading his ideology on sites like Instagram, but now Elon Musk and Twitter has done the overt racist, homophobe, and anti-Semite a solid by giving him back his account.
Advocacy group Media Matters for America released a report Tuesday saying it identified at least 18 accounts associated with the neo-Nazi figure Fuentes, along with at least 29 other accounts that promote the hate figure through memes, clips, and links. These accounts are active and continue to fly under the radar of Instagram’s moderation team even though some are actively posting Nazi imagery or other racist imagery meant to dog whistle to other hate groups online.
Fuentes has been banned from Instagram and Facebook for years, but Media Matters pointed out the most obvious connected accounts include the official account of Cozy.TV, the platform Fuentes started in 2021 to support his livestreams. Another account was linked to Fuentes friend and “groyper” influencer Kai Schwemmer. MMFA told Gizmodo the Instagram page has 12,400 followers. Schwemmer’s accounts share memes and videos meant to make the white nationalist content appeal to younger viewers, as noted by social justice research group Political Research Associates. All in all, 26 of the 40 accounts noted by MMFA had over 1,000 followers.
MMFA shared the full report with Motherboard, which noted that many of these accounts like Schwemmer are using sanitized language and dog whistles, rather than overt racism and anti-Semitism, to promote their group and ideology. It’s a classic tactic of the alt-right especially after major social media sites have cracked down on their main operations.
Of course, this all goes against Instagram parent company Meta’s stated policies against “praise, support, and representation of white nationalism.” As noted in the company’s policies page, accounts are allowed to discuss and reference such organizations, but not promote those groups or advocate their beliefs.
Meta confirmed to Gizmodo that the company is reviewing the report and will “remove any content in line with our policies.” The company also said that hate groups are constantly using new tactics to avoid detection, especially ones that are currently banned.
These supporting accounts are part of the so-called “groyper” community, a group which federal prosecutors have said are “vocal supporters of white supremacist and America First podcaster Nick Fuentes.” These hate figure groupies are part of the wider Fuentes ecosystem working to spread his ideology. Media Matters noted groypers are also active in starting online harassment campaigns against critics and LGBTQ+ streamers.
The Southern Poverty Law Center’s article on Fuentes shares some of his greatest hits from his America First podcast over the years. The man is an active hate figure who has talked about wanting to “kill the globalists” on his podcast and has actively compared himself to Adolf Hitler. The neo-Nazi podcaster is based out of Chicago, and his following has apparently been growing. The SPLC’s Hatewatch reported last month Fuentes has been streaming out of an expensive apartment in the Chicago suburbs after moving his operation out of his parents’ basement.
On Tuesday, Twitter unceremoniously reinstated Fuentes’ account. He had been banned back in 2021, long after other platforms had banned him. He had previously tried to create a new account once billionaire Elon Musk took over the company, as reported last year by The Daily Beast. Fuentes appeared alongside Ye, formerly Kanye West, on Alex Jones’ conspiracy factory podcast InfoWars last year palling around with the disgraced rapper as he praised Nazis and Adolf Hitler. Ye has been banned from Twitter after finally pushing Musk to his limit, but a number of active alt-right and neo-Nazi figures have all had their accounts reinstated.
Fuentes has been removed from Instagram along with most other social media platforms for his obvious white supremacist rhetoric. Despite this, he still has his followers actively engaged across multiple different platforms. Media Matters has previously pointed out TikTok accounts linked to groypers.
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