Digital Dog Whistles: The New Online Language of Extremism

Gabriel Weimann, Ari Ben Am

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Terrorists and extremists groups are communicating sometimes openly but very often inconcealed formats. Recently Far-right extremists including white supremacist, anti-Semite groups, racists and neo-Nazis started using a coded "New Language". Alarmed by police and security forces attempts to find them online and by the social platforms attemptsto remove their contents, they try to apply the new language of codes and doublespeak.This study explores the emergence of a new language, the system of code words developed by Far-right extremists. What are the characteristics of this new language? How is ittransmitted? How is it used? Our survey of online Far-right contents reveals the use ofvisual and textual codes for extremists. These hidden languages enable extremists to hidein plain sight and for others to easily identify like- minded individuals. There is no doubtthat the "new language" used online by Far-right groups comprises all the known attributesof a language: It is very creative, productive and instinctive, uses exchanges of verbal orsymbolic utterances shared by certain individuals and groups. These findings should serve both Law Enforcement and private sector bodies interested in preventing hate speechonline.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Security Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


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