Don’t Accidentally Give Credit to Hate Sites

Dear friends,

Thank you for stopping the normalization of Trump and his white supremacists pals. Thank you for keeping posting about fraud, national security risks, personal safety problems, and more. Keeping doing it.

However, you need to stop linking to white supremacist propaganda and re-sharing it on social media from the source in your outrage.

Yes, you should definitely say, “This is really what Steve Bannon, Trump’s Chief Strategist, said. It shows he’s an anti-Semite, who hates women, and gave his platform over to Neo-Nazis and is one himself.” However, don’t link to Breitbart. Please, please don’t link to or share/reshare their content.

Breitbart article sharing

This Breitbart article is misogynistic. 12,000+ people shared it on Facebook, and an unknown numbers in other ways. They got a lot of traffic. Lauren Duca’s tweet though, because it’s a screenshot, will be there forever and the shares she got won’t count as a win for Breitbart.

Why?

Opening yourself up to gaslighting

We already have Trump getting upset when people quote him back to his face. He claims it never happened. Those articles, tweets, etc., can be changed or deleted at the whim of their owner. Then you can be told that they didn’t say that. That it never existed.

Take a screenshot. It lasts forever.

Never link to their sites on your websites

If you link to another site, you are in a small way giving that article and that website an upvote. This is one of the foundations for search engine optimization (SEO), and how search engines like Google and Bing decide which results to show you when you search on them. The more links (upvotes) a site gets, especially if the links come from powerful, legitimate sites (e.g. whitehouse.gov and nytimes.com), the more Google and Bing look at those sites as powerful. Sites with lots of links will start showing for more and more results.

There’s a lot of complex issues around SEO. But we can all agree that we don’t want to build links for Neo-Nazis.

Sharing on social media is a success metric. Don’t share their stuff.

There is much debate around if sharing on social media influences search engine results. But there is one major reason not to share anything directly from white nationalist’s websites or their social media posts: success metrics.

What do I mean by success metrics? The current white supremacist movement knows how to use the internet. They monitor their website and social media analytics. They run publishing platforms, and no doubt, they track metrics. If an article they write gets a bunch of web traffic (visits) or a bunch of shares on Facebook and Twitter, they categorize it as a success. Then they write more like it and continue to believe their worldview is popular.

Why does this matter? This is how they get on CNN. This is how they get a seat at the table. They show off how many social media followers they have or talk about the amount of traffic (people looking at their articles) they get. They don’t analyze how many people reshared something outraged or countering what they say. (This is type of analysis is called sentiment analysis, which is both hard to do and very costly. Oh, and Neo-Nazis don’t care if you don’t like them.) They only count times their video was watched and the like.

Don’t make them look successful unintentionally.

Social share from Facebook

MediaMatters.org is excited about 1 more share on Facebook and the traffic when my Facebook friends visit their site. Since they’re a legitimate company, I don’t have problems linking to or sharing from them.

Screenshot and then post

I’m a big believer in being able to cite your sources. However, the more you link and more you share/reshare Neo-Nazi posts and articles, the more you legitimize them in relationship to the web. There are technical SEO ways to get around the link effect. However, most people don’t have access to that knowledge or sites which let you edit the code. There are likewise technical ways to limit attribution on social media, but once you’re on that site, you’re counted as a visitor. You can use browsers which block cookies and keep more of your privacy. However, none of this is easy to do, especially from a smart phone or on the default computer setting most of us use.

Please keep calling these terrible white supremacists on their bullshit and don’t allow Trump and his ilk to go about normalizing this as part of America. Just don’t accidentally give them any credit.

About Erica

Erica McGillivray spends too much contemplating the socioeconomic importance of the bananaphone. Ring, ring, ring. Bananaphone. She loves cats, soap opera plots in comic books, and dreams of flying in the stars. Erica loves being a community manager.
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One Response to Don’t Accidentally Give Credit to Hate Sites

  1. Patricia/Cronopio says:

    Excellent points, E, thanks!

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