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Meet Antifa's Secret Weapon Against Far-Right Extremists


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A virtual Molotov cocktail.

Elon University computer science professor has created an array of programs that monitor approximately 400,000 accounts of white nationalists on Facebook and elsewhere.

Credit: Adam Maida

Megan Squire, a professor of computer science at Elon University, has created Whack-a-Mole, an array of programs that monitor approximately 400,000 accounts of white nationalists on Facebook and elsewhere, feeding that information into a centralized database.

Squire often sends such data to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which might disclose such details to police.

She says she keeps Whack-a-Mole free from government interference by placing it on a foreign server, and the database culls most of its data by plugging into Facebook's application programming interface and running scripts that pull the events and groups to which various account owners belong.

Squire selects which accounts to track based on images and keywords that align with various extremist groups. Detailed profiles on Whack-a-Mole are filled out with information collected from sources such as the SPLC, informers, and leaks.

Squire envisions her work as a "fusion center" that combines intelligence from different agencies for groups fighting white nationalism.

From Wired
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