National Security | Military Ethics | Global Far-Right Extremism | Counter-Terrorism | Antisemitism

From Memes to Mainstream: How Far-Right Extremists Weaponize AI to Spread Anti-Semitism

In response to the recent events of October 7th, far-right extremists individuals are deliberately aiming to exploit mainstream discourse to sow extremist ideology and radicalize users. The findings of this report are based on our monitoring of online far-right extremist channels. These extremists exploit anti-Israel sentiments to disseminate antisemitic content on mainstream platforms to radicalize individuals across the ideological spectrum. This report specifically focuses on how utilization of AI has facilitated innovation in these far-right strategies.

The report is divided into two parts. In the first part, Hijacking Anti-Israel Discourse to Promote Antisemitism and Radicalization, we show how users are coordinating meticulous strategies meant to influence people by taking advantage of current anti-Israel sentiments and disseminate antisemitic content on mainstream platforms. The intention is to normalize far-right ideologies and narratives among mainstream discourse, with the ultimate aim of radicalization of users. We present four tactics in the far-right modus operandi that are apparent in this campaign: (1) Narrowcasting, (2) Crafting Engagement, (3) Fake Accounts (4) Exploiting AI for Meme Creation.

These tactics are part of an increasingly growing technique of “meme warfare,” wherein extremists utilize memes to spread harmful ideologies. Memes normalize extremist beliefs, cloaking harmful ideologies in a legitimizing humorous form. We show that this notorious far-right technique is being innovated and intensified thanks to new Generative AI technologies.

The second part of this report, Disseminating AI images beyond far-right spaces, illustrates the use of “meme warfare” and the fruition of these ambitions through the examination of four case studies: (i) Brooklyn Synagogue Tunnel, (ii) Attacks by the Houthi terrorist organization in the Red Sea, (iii) Modern Propaganda Posters, and (IV) Fire Extinguisher Iconography. These case studies demonstrate the groups’ successful strategic planning, leading to maximized reach and resonance with mainstream audiences, ultimately exposing at least tens of millions to implicit dangerous narratives and stereotypes.

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