YouTube to remove hateful, supremacist content

FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of mobile device users are seen next to a screen projection of Youtube logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

By Paresh Dave

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – YouTube said on Wednesday it would remove videos that deny the Holocaust and other “well-documented violent events,” a major reversal in policy as it fights criticism that it provides a platform to hate speech and harassment.

The streaming service, owned by Alphabet Inc’s Google, also said it would remove videos that glorify Nazi ideology or that promote groups that claim superiority to others to justify several forms of discrimination.

In addition, video creators that repeatedly brush up against YouTube’s hate speech policies, even without violating them, will now have their accounts shut down, a spokesman said.

In a blog post, YouTube acknowledged the new policies could hurt researchers who seek out these videos “to understand hate in order to combat it.” The policies also could frustrate free speech advocates who say hate speech should not be censored.

Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, which researches anti-Semitism, said it had provided input to YouTube on the policy change.

“While this is an important step forward, this move alone is insufficient and must be followed by many more changes from YouTube and other tech companies to adequately counter the scourge of online hate and extremism,” Greenblatt said in a statement.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Additional reporting by Sayanti Chakraborty in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel and Bernadette Baum)

Holocaust survivor meets with California teens involved in Nazi salute photos

Auschwitz survivor Eva Schloss, stepsister of Holocaust diarist Anne Frank, talks to the media at Newport Harbor High School after speaking with a group of students seen in viral online photos giving Nazi salutes over a swastika made of red cups that sparked outrage in Newport Beach, California, U.S., March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake

By Steve Gorman

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (Reuters) – An Auschwitz survivor and stepsister of Holocaust diarist Anne Frank met on Thursday with some of the California high school students who posed in social media photos giving Nazi salutes over a swastika made of red cups used in a drinking game.

The anti-Semitic images, one with the caption “master race” – a reference to the Nazi belief in ethnic purity – went viral after being posted to Snapchat on Saturday, fueling concerns about a recent surge in incidents of hate speech in public schools nationwide.

Eva Schloss, 89, a peace activist who has chronicled her Holocaust experiences in several books, visited privately for more than hour at Newport Harbor High School with about 10 of the teens involved, along with their parents, student leaders, faculty members and a local rabbi who helped organize the meeting.

Speaking to reporters afterward, Schloss said the students described the Nazi salute incident as “a joke,” and she was surprised when they professed not to have fully understood the meaning and consequences of their behavior.

“It did show that education, obviously, is still very, very inadequate,” said Schloss, a London resident who was in California this week on a U.S. speaking tour. She said the students expressed sincere remorse for what happened on Saturday.

“I was 16 when I came out of Auschwitz,” Schloss said she told the students. “I was their age when I realized my life was completely shattered.”

The photos were taken at a party attended by students from several high schools serving a cluster of predominantly white, largely affluent Orange County communities. The images included teens with arms raised in a Nazi salute and students crowded around the cups arranged in the shape of a swastika.

School officials said they have interviewed more than two dozen students and are weighing possible disciplinary action.

LIVES INTERTWINED

The early life of Schloss, a native Austrian, closely parallels that of her German-born stepsister, Anne Frank. Both families moved to Amsterdam to escape anti-Jewish Nazi persecution in their homelands.

The two girls lived near each other and were friends before Germany’s Dutch occupation, forcing both families into hiding. Frank’s personal journal about her family’s ordeal was posthumously published in 1947 as “The Diary of a Young Girl.”

Frank died at age 15 at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany in early 1945.

Like Frank’s family, Schloss was captured by the Nazis in 1944 in Amsterdam and was sent to Auschwitz, where her brother and father died. Schloss and her mother were liberated by the Soviet army, and her mother married Frank’s father, Otto, in 1953.

Newport Beach Rabbi Reuven Mintz, who helped organize the students’ meeting with Schloss, said the controversy should be a “wake-up call” to a rising tide of anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which tracks acts of racism, says the number of anti-Semitic incidents reported at U.S. public schools jumped 94 percent from 2016 to 2017, the latest year such figures are available.

One factor appears to be wide-scale human migration stirred by war, political upheaval and environmental degradation, which in turn has fed a global rise in xenophobia and discriminatory politics that is “becoming mainstreamed in much of the Western world,” said regional ADL director Peter Levi.

“High school kids are not immune from that,” he said.

Another factor, he said, is the spread of extremist ideology by way of social media and the Internet, “and everyone has access to that in his pockets.”

(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Newport Beach, California; Additional reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; editing by Darren Schuettler and Lisa Shumaker)

Germany uncovers terrorist group which attacked foreigners in Chemnitz

Men suspected of forming a far-right militant organisation in Chemnitz, are escorted by special police in front of the General Prosecutor's Office at the German Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof) in Karlsruhe, Germany October 1, 2018. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

By Andreas Burger

KARLSRUHE, Germany (Reuters) – German police detained six men on Monday suspected of forming a far-right militant organization which assaulted foreigners in the eastern city of Chemnitz and planning attacks on politicians and civil servants, the GBA federal prosecutor’s office said.

Some 100 police officers backed by special commando units detained the six suspects aged 20 to 30 at locations in Germany’s Saxony and Bavaria states. Authorities also revealed that another suspect had been taken into custody on Sept. 14.

The men are accused of forming “Revolution Chemnitz”, an organization named after the city where the fatal stabbing of a German man blamed on migrants in August prompted the worst far-right violence in Germany in decades.

“Based on the information we have so far, the suspects belong to the hooligan, skinhead and neo-Nazi scene in the area of Chemnitz and considered themselves leading figures in the right-wing extremist scene in Saxony,” prosecutors said.

The group had planned to attack senior civil servants and politicians, they said.

“In the course of further investigations we encountered tangible indications that the organization pursued terrorist goals,” the GBA said in a statement.

GBA spokeswoman Frauke Koehler told reporters that the authorities had intercepted communications which showed that the suspects were plotting attacks against political opponents as well as foreigners.

Five of the suspects had attacked and injured foreigners in Chemnitz on Sept. 14 using glass bottles, steel knuckle gloves and tasers, the GBA statement said. The group had planned to carry out another attack on Oct. 3, the national holiday that marks the reunification of East and West Germany in 1991.

SKINHEADS

The violence in Chemnitz, where skinheads hounded migrants and performed the illegal Hitler salute, exposed deep divisions over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision in 2015 to welcome almost one million mostly Muslim asylum seekers.

The events also strained Merkel’s coalition government. Her conservatives and their Social Democrat (SPD) coalition partners could not agree what to do with the head of the BfV domestic spy agency, who questioned the authenticity of a video showing skinheads chasing migrants. They reached a compromise last month to transfer him to the interior ministry, ending a row that almost felled their six-month-old government.

The events in Chemnitz also raised questions about whether authorities in Saxony were too complacent in the face of rising far-right violence and xenophobia, in a country sensitive to whether the lessons of its Nazi past have been learned.

The reputation of Germany’s law enforcement was hurt by the handling of case of a neo-Nazi gang that murdered 10 people during a 2000-2007 campaign of racially motivated violence. Two members of the group, the National Socialist Underground (NSU), killed themselves in 2011 when police discovered the gang by chance. Another member was jailed for life in July.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper said investigators believed “Revolution Chemnitz” would have carried out more murders than the NSU.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said after the arrests on Monday that the threat of a militant attack in Germany remains high, which means “an attack could take place any moment.”

(Writing by Joseph Nasr, Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky, William Maclean)

Israeli cabinet minister welcomes Spicer’s apology over Hitler remarks

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer apologizes during an interview for saying Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons, at the White House in Washington,

By Jeffrey Heller

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A senior member of Israel’s government welcomed on Wednesday White House spokesman Sean Spicer’s apology for saying Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons, comments that overlooked the killing of millions of Jews in Nazi gas chambers.

“Since he apologized and retracted his remarks, as far as (I) am concerned, the matter is over,” Intelligence and Transport Minister Israel Katz said in a statement, citing the “tremendous importance of historical truth and remembrance” of the victims of the Holocaust.

Spicer made the assertion at a daily news briefing, during a discussion about the April 4 chemical weapons attack in Syria that killed 87 people. Washington has blamed the attack on the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” Spicer said when asked about Russia’s alliance with the Syrian government.

The Nazis murdered six million Jews during World War Two. Many Jews as well as others were killed in gas chambers in European concentration camps.

When a reporter asked Spicer if he wanted to clarify his comments, he said: “I think when you come to sarin gas, there was no, he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing.”

Later on Tuesday, Spicer apologized and said he should not have made that comparison.

“It was a mistake. I shouldn’t have done it and I won’t do it again,” Spicer told CNN in an interview. “It was inappropriate and insensitive.”

Spicer’s assertion, made during the Jewish holiday of Passover, sparked instant outrage on social media and from some Holocaust memorial groups who accused him of minimizing Hitler’s crimes.

Katz, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party, had tweeted late on Tuesday that Spicer’s comments at the news briefing were “grave and outrageous”, and he said the White House spokesman should apologize or resign.

There was no immediate comment from other Israeli leaders, during a Passover holiday period when government business is largely at a standstill and many in the country are on vacation.

It was not the first time the White House has had to answer questions about the Holocaust. Critics in January noted the administration’s statement marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which omitted any mention of Jewish victims.

At the time, Spicer defended that statement by saying it had been written in part by a Jewish staff member whose family members had survived the Holocaust.

Despite these difficulties, relations between Trump administration and the Israeli government have been more cordial than under the Obama presidency, although differences remain over the scope of Israeli settlement-building.

(Additional reporting by Ayesha Rascoe, Steve Holland and Jeff Mason in Washington; Editing by Toby Chopra)

Merkel ally says Turkey’s Erdogan ‘not welcome’ in Germany

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, March 19, 2017. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

By Andrea Shalal

BERLIN (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has crossed a line by comparing Berlin’s government to the Nazis and he and other officials are no longer welcome in Germany, a senior ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday.

The rebuke from Volker Bouffier, vice chairman of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, reflects growing exasperation over Erdogan’s assertions that Germany and other European powers were using Nazi tactics by banning Turkish political rallies in their territories.

“Enough is enough,” said Bouffier, who is also premier of Hesse state where the financial capital Frankfurt is located. “Mr. Erdogan and his government are not welcome in our country, and that must be now be understood,” he told DLF radio.

German media have reported that Erdogan plans to visit Germany this month to rally the estimated 1.4 eligible Turkish voters living here to support a package of new presidential powers in an April 16 referendum.

Bouffier said such a visit would create security problems. “Someone who insults us in this way cannot expect that we will assemble thousands of police to protect him,” he said.

Germany’s government has said it has not received a formal request for a visit by Erdogan.

On Monday, Merkel once again called on Turkey to stop the Nazi comparisons and said Berlin reserved the right to block future appearances by Turkish officials if they did not comply with German law, which explicitly forbids malicious disparagement of the government.

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the diplomatic note in which Berlin approved further visits by Turkish politicians had an explicit reference to the German law against disparagement.

“If that happens, and there are violations of our laws, then will have to … revoke the note” and approvals of various visits, Gabriel told reporters after a meeting with EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans.

Timmermans said EU officials were united in rejecting the Nazi comparisons. “President Erdogan’s comments about Germany and the Netherlands are not allowed. We don’t want to be compared to Nazis,” he said.

Erdogan repeated his criticism of Germany and other European countries on Tuesday, saying today’s “fascist and cruel” Europe resembled the pre-World War Two era.

In Istanbul on Sunday, he said, “Merkel, now you’re applying Nazi methods. Against my brothers who live in Germany, and against my ministers and lawmakers who visit there.”

Reiner Haseloff, another member of Merkel’s CDU and premier of Saxony-Anhalt state, urged Berlin to bar such visits.

“Those who compare us to Nazis are not welcome. That is not acceptable,” he told Die Welt newspaper in an article published on Tuesday. He said Berlin should not rely on local and state governments to make decisions about visits by Turkish politicians as it has up to now.

In his speech on Tuesday, Erdogan said Turkey could no longer be pressured by considerations such as a $6 billion migrant deal under which it agreed to stop illegal migrants from crossing into Greece in exchange for financial aid and accelerated EU membership talks.

EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn told the Bild newspaper in an interview published Tuesday that Turkey’s prospects for joining the EU would be “increasingly unrealistic” unless it changed course and stopped moving away from European values.

Hahn said the EU had repeatedly voiced its concerns about the “increasingly authoritarian path of President Erdogan.”

“Threats are no way to make policies. They make a reasonable dialogue impossible,” he said.

(Reporting by Gernot Heller, Andrea Shalal and Reuters TV in Berlin, and Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ece Toksabay in Istanbul; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

Senior U.N. official quits after ‘apartheid’ Israel report pulled

U.N. Under-Secretary General and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf speaks during a news conference announcing her resignation from the United Nations in Beirut, Lebanon, March 17, 2017. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi

BEIRUT/UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – A senior U.N. official resigned on Friday over the withdrawal of a report accusing Israel of imposing an “apartheid regime” on Palestinians, saying “powerful member states” pressured the world body and its chief with “vicious attacks and threats.”

United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary for the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), Rima Khalaf, announced her resignation at a news conference in Beirut after U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres asked for the report to be taken off the ESCWA website.

ESCWA, which comprises 18 Arab states, published the report on Wednesday and said it was the first time a U.N. body had clearly charged that Israel “has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.”

Israel fiercely rejects the allegation and likened the report to Der Sturmer – a Nazi propaganda publication that was strongly anti-Semitic. The United States, an ally of Israel, had said it was outraged and demanded the report be withdrawn.

“I do not find it surprising that such member states, who now have governments with little regard for international norms and values of human rights, will resort to intimidation when they find it hard to defend their unlawful policies and practices,” Khalaf, of Jordan, wrote to Guterres.

“It is only normal for criminals to pressure and attack those who advocate the cause of their victims,” Khalaf wrote in the resignation letter, seen by Reuters, adding that she stands by the ESCWA report.

Israel and the United States did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Khalaf’s letter.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said earlier on Friday that Khalaf’s resignation was appropriate and Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon said it was “long overdue.

“Anti-Israel activists do not belong in the UN,” Danon said in a statement.”

“U.N. agencies must do a better job of eliminating false and biased work, and I applaud the Secretary-General’s decision to distance his good office from it,” Haley said in a statement.

The report was published without consultation with the U.N. secretariat, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric had said.

“This is not about content, this is about process,” Dujarric told reporters in New York on Friday.

“The secretary-general cannot accept that an under-secretary general or any other senior U.N. official that reports to him would authorize the publication under the U.N. name, under the U.N. logo, without consulting the competent departments and even himself,” he said.

One of the authors of the report was Richard Falk, a former U.N. human rights investigator for the Palestinian territories, whom the United States has accused of being biased against Israel.

The ESCWA report said it had established on the “basis of scholarly inquiry and overwhelming evidence, that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid.”

While the report was taken off the ECWAS website, Khalaf told reporters: “Let me be clear, the report was issued … and has impacts. The member states received copies of this report. And it is available.”

(Reporting by Ellen Francis in Beirut and Michelle Nichols in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr and Diane Craft)

Dutch PM bars Turkish foreign minister in escalation of rally row

An outside view of the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam, Netherlands, March 11, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman

By Tuvan Gumrukcu and Thomas Escritt

ANKARA/ROTTERDAM (Reuters) – The Netherlands barred Turkey’s foreign minister from landing in Rotterdam on Saturday in a row over Ankara’s political campaigning among Turkish emigres, and President Tayyip Erdogan retaliated, branding his NATO partner a “Nazi remnant”.

The extraordinary incident came hours after Mevlut Cavusoglu declared he would fly to Rotterdam despite being banned from a rally there to marshal support for sweeping new powers Erdogan seeks. Europe, he said, must be rid of its “boss-like attitude”.

Cavusoglu, who was barred from a similar meeting in Hamburg last week but spoke instead from the Turkish consulate, accused the Dutch of treating the many Turkish citizens in the country like “hostages”, cutting them off from Ankara.

“I sent them so they could contribute to your economy,” he told CNN Turk TV, days ahead of Dutch polls where immigration may play a significant part. “They’re not your captives.”

“If my going will increase tensions, let it be…I am a foreign minister and I can go wherever I want,” he added hours before his planned flight to Rotterdam was banned.

Cavusoglu threatened harsh economic and political sanctions if the Dutch refused him entry, a threat that proved decisive for the Netherlands government.

It cited public order and security concerns in withdrawing landing rights for Cavusoglu’s flight. But it said the sanctions threat made the search for a reasonable solution impossible.

Dutch anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders, polling second ahead of elections on Wednesday in the Netherlands, said in a tweet on Saturday: “To all Turks in the Netherlands who agree with Erdogan: Go to Turkey and NEVER come back!!”

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said: “This morning on TV (the Turkish minister) made clear he was threatening the Netherlands with sanctions and we can never negotiate with the Turks under such threats. So we decided…in a conference call it was better for him not to come.”

SPILLOVER FEAR

Four planned Turkish rallies in Austria and one in Switzerland have also been canceled in the dispute.

“Listen Netherlands, you’ll jump once, you’ll jump twice, but my people will thwart your game,” Erdogan said at a rally. “You can cancel our foreign minister’s flight as much as you want, but let’s see how your flights come to Turkey now.

“They don’t know diplomacy or politics. They are Nazi remnants. They are fascists.”

Dutch Prime Minister Rutte called his reference to Nazis and Fascists “a crazy remark of course”.

“I understand they’re angry but this is of course way out of line.”

Erdogan chafes at Western criticism of his mass arrests and dismissals of people authorities believe were linked to a failed July attempt by the military to topple him. He maintains it is clear the West begrudges him new powers and seeks to engineer a “no” vote in the referendum.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country Erdogan compared last week with Nazi Germany, has said she will do everything possible to prevent any spillover of Turkish political tensions onto German soil.

Cavusoglu said Turks in Germany were under systematic pressure from police and intelligence services.

Erdogan is looking to the large number of emigre Turks living in Europe, especially Germany and the Netherlands, to help clinch victory in next month’s referendum which will shape the future of a country whose position on the edge of the Middle East makes it of crucial strategic importance to NATO.

He has cited domestic threats from Kurdish and Islamist militants and a July coup bid as cause to vote “yes” to his new powers. But he has also drawn on the emotionally charged row with Europe to portray Turkey as betrayed by allies while facing wars on its southern borders. All, again, cause to back strong leadership.

(Additional reporting by Anthony Deutsch and Toby Sterling; Writing by Ralph Boulton; Editing by Alexander Smith and Toby Chopra)

Dozens of survivors pay homage to victims of Auschwitz

Survivors walk in remains of Nazi German concentration camps

OSWIECIM, Poland (Reuters) – Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo and some of the last survivors of Auschwitz paid homage to the victims of the Holocaust on Friday, 72 years after the Nazi death camp was liberated in the final throes of World War Two.

At a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe, Szydlo told dozens of people gathered in the camp that the suffering of the victims was a “wound that … can never be healed and should never be forgotten”.

“No one can understand this suffering,” Szydlo said. “I want a message to go out again from this place today that what happened in this German camp was evil … An evil that can be overcome with good. Memory and truth are our responsibility, they are our weapons against evil.”

Nazi German occupation forces set up the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in Oswiecim, around 70 km (45 miles) from Poland’s second city, Krakow.

Between 1940 and 1945, Auschwitz developed into a vast complex of barracks, workshops, gas chambers and crematoria.

More than a million people, mainly European Jews, were gassed, shot or hanged at the camp, or died of neglect, starvation or disease, before the Soviet Red Army entered its gates in early 1945 during its decisive advance on Berlin.

Szydlo’s conservative government worries that the world will forget that Auschwitz was a German camp, and has launched a campaign against any mention of “Polish death camps” in international media.

Of the six million Jews who died during the Holocaust, about half had been living in Poland.

(Reporting by Janusz Chmielewski; Writing by Justyna Pawlak; Editing by Lidia Kelly and Kevin Liffey)

Re-print of Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ takes Germany by storm

A copy of the book 'Hitler, Mein Kampf. A Critical Edition' is displayed for media prior to a news conference in Munich, Germany

BERLIN (Reuters) – Sales of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” have soared since a special edition of the Nazi leader’s political treatise went on sale in Germany a year ago, the German publisher has said.

The book outlines Hitler’s ideology that formed the basis for Nazism and sets out his hatred of Jews, which led to the Holocaust.

The new edition is the first reprint since World War Two, released last January after a 70-year copyright on the text expired at the end of 2015. It includes explanatory sections and some 3,500 annotations, and has sold 85,000 copies to the surprise of its publishers.

“These sales figures have taken us by storm,” Andreas Wirsching, who heads up the publishers, the Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ) told German news agency dpa.

“No-one could really have expected them,” he added.

Hitler wrote “Mein Kampf”, which translates as “My Struggle” in English, between 1924 and 1926. It was banned by the Allies at the end of World War Two.

Hitler wrote most of the first, highly autobiographical, volume while incarcerated in Landsberg prison after his failed Munich coup attempt in 1923. After his release, he wrote much of the second volume at his mountain retreat near Berchtesgaden.

A bestseller after he became chancellor in 1933, “Mein Kampf” had by 1945 sold 12 million copies and been translated into 18 languages.

(Writing by Paul Carrel; editing by Richard Lough)

White nationalists use Twitter with ‘relative impunity’

People holding mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo

By Dustin Volz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White nationalists and self-identified Nazi sympathizers located mostly in the United States use Twitter with “relative impunity” and often have far more followers than militant Islamists, a study being released on Thursday found.

Eighteen prominent white nationalist accounts examined in the study, including the American Nazi Party, have seen a sharp increase in Twitter followers to a total of more than 25,000, up from about 3,500 in 2012, according to the study by George Washington University’s Program on Extremism that was seen by Reuters.

The study’s findings contrast with declining influence on Twitter Inc’s <TWTR.N> service for Islamic State, also known as ISIS, amid crackdowns that have targeted the militant group, according to earlier research by report author J.M. Berger and the findings of other counter-extremism experts and government officials.

“White nationalists and Nazis outperformed ISIS in average friend and follower counts by a substantial margin,” the report said. “Nazis had a median follower count almost eight times greater than ISIS supporters, and a mean count more than 22 times greater.”

While Twitter has waged an aggressive campaign to suspend Islamic State users – the company said in an August blog post it had shut down 360,000 accounts for threatening or promoting what it defined as terrorist acts since the middle of 2015 – Berger said in his report that “white nationalists and Nazis operate with relative impunity.”

A Twitter spokesman declined to comment in advance of the release of the study. Reuters was unable to independently verify its findings.

The report comes as Twitter faces scrutiny of its content removal policies. It has long been under pressure to crack down on Islamist fighters and their supporters, and the problem of harassment gained renewed attention in July after actress Leslie Jones briefly quit Twitter in the face of abusive comments.

Berger said in an interview that Twitter and other companies such as Facebook Inc. faced added difficulties in enforcing standards against white nationalist groups because they are less cohesive than Islamic State networks and present greater free speech complications.

The data collected, which included analysis of tweets of selected accounts and their followers, represents a fraction of the white nationalist presence on Twitter and was insufficient to estimate the overall online size of the groups, the report said.

Accounts examined in the study possessed a strong affinity for U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, a prolific Twitter user who has been accused of retweeting accounts associated with white nationalism dozens of times.

Three of the top 10 hashtags used most frequently by the data set of users studied were related to Trump, according to the report, entitled “Nazis vs. ISIS on Twitter.” Only #whitegenocide was more popular than Trump-related hashtags, the report said.

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Dustin Volz; Editing by Jonathan Weber, Peter Cooney and Bill Rigby)