Even the FBI Says Social Platforms Need to Get Better at Policing Extremism

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Today, the FBI Assistant Director Michael McGarrity testified to the House Committee on Homeland Security that the bureau is currently investigating 850 cases of domestic terrorism, many of which are white supremacists, according to MSN. McGarrity warned that self-radicalized individuals with weapons are more dangerous than ever before, and recommended that online platforms monitor and police their own content.

McGarrity’s testimony comes two weeks after an attack on a synagogue by a white supremacist in Poway, CA left one dead and three injured. The shooter appears to have been radicalized online and inspired by the attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand earlier this year and the attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA last year.

“That mobilization to violence is much quicker” than it used to be, McGarrity told Congress on Wednesday. He added that anyone “can go on the internet and find content that justifies what you want to do.”


“In fact, there have been more arrests and deaths in the United States caused by domestic terrorists than international terrorists in recent years,” McGarrity said.

McGarrity’s testimony flies in the face of President Trump and others on the right who have pushed back on the idea that there is a rising tide of white supremacy in the U.S. Of the 850 current investigations, McGarrity said that 40 percent of them involve a racist ideology and “a significant majority” of those are white supremacists. McGarrity said that most of the other cases involve anti-government or anti-authority ideologies, ideas which are also generally pushed by the right.

The number of investigations was actually higher six months ago, McGarrity said.

McGarrity told Congress that “the velocity” of these cases “is much quicker than it’s ever been,” blaming the internet for the speed of radicalization. He warned that the “most deadly” threats come from “the lone offender who self-radicalized online [and] who has access to a weapon.”


He also commended social media companies who are attempting to counter extremism on their platforms.

“We are seeing a tide change in social media companies being more proactive, policing their own,” McGarrity said.


This opinion directly contradicts that of most of the right and President Trump, who lost his mind on Twitter last week when Facebook announced it was banning extremist figures like Paul Joseph Watson and Louis Farrakhan.

But the FBI says that policing by platforms like Facebook is necessary to prevent more tragedies like the one in Poway.


“We are making strides, and we would like to keep making strides,” Brian Murphy, a senior official from Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis told MSN.