Torment and ridicule have been on social media as long as social media has been around, but Neo-Nazis have come up with a new way to target Jews. Neo-Nazis, anti-Semitic, and white nationalists have started using a mark or symbol that will help them alert others to Jews on Twitter, and those marks are being used to issue threats and coordinate attacks.
Jonathan Weisman of the New York Times recently wrote a piece that was about fascism in the United States, and it led to him receiving a rather cryptic tweet. In the tweet, it merely said “Hello ((Weisman))” and was from a user known as @CyberTrump, but not fully understood by Weisman.
Weisman wasn’t entirely sure what was meant by the rather odd tweet which had his name in parentheses, and he was met with a lot of anti-Semitic hate in response. Actually, he’s received it from many others since the initial tweet, and it is all due to the fact that he was targeted and pointed out for the Neo-Nazis to find.
Over the past few weeks, Weisman has learned that the majority of those attacking him on social media are Trump supporters.
— Spectre ✘ (@SpectreReturns) May 19, 2016
Tech Mic is reporting that the practice of putting multiple parentheses around a person’s name on Twitter is called an “Echo.” It’s the way that Neo-Nazis are able to identify and target Jews so that they can be harassed, tormented, and attacked via social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
Even though the multiple parentheses used to be seen as a “virtual hug” on different online sites, that has since changed.
The origin of the “echo” goes back to 2014, with a right-wing website called The Right Stuff which also presents a podcast called “The Daily Shoah.” While it may be referred to by everyone else as a target, the Neo-Nazis are calling it something much more insulting in “closed captioning for the Jew-blind.”
Weisman is far from the only journalist who has been receiving threats and targeted by the echo symbol surrounding his name. Most of those joining in on the verbal attacks do appear to be white supremacist Trump supporters, but it’s certainly not limited to only that group.
About a month ago, Jewish journalist Julia Loffe wrote an article for GQ magazine which profiled Melania Trump who could be the First Lady of the United States by the end of this year. Almost immediately, Loffe received hate speech that was terrifying and included death threats which forced her to file a police report.
When later asked about the situation, Melania Trump said that she doesn’t control her fans and she didn’t agree with their actions. Trump said that many people took things way too far, but believes that Loffe “provoked them” with her article.
Mixed in with all of the tweets filled with racist statements and hate speech, Jonathan Weisman has received a lot of support and backing from those that enjoyed his article. They were proud of the way he pointed out the symbol and responses he got for merely being Jewish and speaking his mind.
Read your story in NYT. Disgusting, bigoted attacks. Wanted to show some Canadian support for you fighting back. @jonathanweisman
— Sean Gillis (@SeanPlans) May 28, 2016
@jonathanweisman I was repulsed and saddened to read the comments you have been getting. Thank you for showing the world the ugly truth.
— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) May 27, 2016
When browsing through Twitter or Facebook, it’s not often that people will notice someone’s name in the ((( ))) symbol. It’s not something that can be searched on Twitter either as looking for just the symbol will yield no results while searching for a person’s name in the parentheses brings up every result with said name.
Almost every search engine or social media site will drop the parentheses if someone tries to use them in a search. This makes it quite simple for the targeting of the Neo-Nazi groups to go almost totally unnoticed.
Yes, it’s now been exposed, but that won’t make it any easier to find and eliminate.
The “Echo” symbol on Twitter is what Neo-Nazis are using to target Jews and alert others to their identity and presence. It could very well lead to much more than torment and insults on social media, and that is what’s becoming extremely concerning. Perhaps the exposure of the symbol will do away with it and all that comes with it, but it’s likely only a matter of time until a new one is created.
[Photo by David McNew/Getty Images]