Triple parentheses

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The use of triple parentheses or triple brackets, also known as an (((echo))), is an antisemitic symbol that has been used to highlight the names of individuals of a Jewish background. The practice originated from the far-right blog The Right Stuff; the blog's editors have explained that the symbol is meant to symbolize that the historic actions of Jews had caused their surnames to "echo throughout history."[1] The triple parentheses have been adopted as an online stigma by antisemites, neo-Nazis, and white nationalists to identify individuals of Jewish background as targets for online harassment, such as Jewish political journalists critical of President Donald Trump during his 2016 election campaign.[2][3]

Use of the notation was brought to mainstream attention by an article posted by Mic in June 2016,[4] the reports also led Google to pull a browser extension meant to automatically place the "echo" notation around Jewish names on web pages,[4] and the notation being classified as a form of hate speech by the Anti-Defamation League.[5] In the wake of these actions, some users, both Jews and non-Jews, have intentionally placed their own names within triple parentheses as a sign of solidarity.[6] Prior to its use in this manner, (((screenname))) had been used in online communities such as America Online to indicate that a user was "cyberhugging" another user.[7]

Use[edit]

The use of the "echo" originated from a 2014 episode of The Daily Shoah, a podcast produced by the alt-right blog The Right Stuff. The podcast includes a segment known as the "Merchant Minute," where Jewish names are spoken with a cartoonish echo effect to single them out.[1] The editors of The Right Stuff explained that the use of an echo, represented in text using triple parentheses, was an internal meme meant to symbolize an opinion that the actions of Jews in the past cause their names to "echo throughout history," stating in its lexicon that "echoes repeat the sad tale as they communicate the emotional lessons of our great white sins, imploring us to Never Forget the 6 GoRillion [sic]."[8][1] From the inside out, each parenthesis represents perceived Jewish involvement in harmful media, mass immigration, and global Zionism.[1]

The triple parentheses have since been used on social networking services such as Twitter by antisemites, neo-Nazis, and white nationalists as a signal to target Jews for harassment.[1] A number of Jewish journalists told the website Mic that after their names were mentioned in echoes, they began to receive messages from trolls containing antisemitic messages, Holocaust photos, and death threats.[1] The Jerusalem Post reported that the triple parentheses had "emerged as a weapon in the arsenal of the so-called 'alt-right,' an amorphous, primarily online conservative movement that has been becoming more visible and vocal in the midst of Donald Trump's presidential campaign," and that these tactics were increasingly being used to target Jewish journalists posting content that was critical of the Republican Party candidate.[4] A user who engages in these "dog-piling" actions described the echo notation as being like a "dog whistle."[4][5] Search engines typically ignore punctuation contained in a query, meaning that it can be difficult to intentionally locate posts containing this notation.[1]

In a June 2016 article detailing the phenomenon, Mic also reported that an extension had been developed for the Google Chrome web browser known as "Coincidence Detector," which automatically places the triple parentheses around the names of individuals who "[have] been involved in certain political movements and media empires." The extension contains a list of 8,771 names, including common Jewish names and surnames, those of media personalities who have been critical of Trump, Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as organizations such as Ben & Jerry's and Kars4Kids.[9][10][11][12]

The absurdist Twitter user dril sparked controversy in June 2016 after posting a tweet in which he made satirical use of the triple parentheses.[13] Specifically, dril tweeted "i refuse to consume any product that has been created by, or is claimed to have been created by, the (((Keebler Elves)))."[14] Journalist Jay Hathaway wrote that most of dril's followers understood the tweet to be an ironic joke exploring the uncertain "etiquette around this very 2016 expression of bigotry ... Can a non-Jew apply the (((echoes))) to his own name[15] as a show of allyship? Is it OK to use the parentheses in a joke at the white supremacists' expense? There's no clear consensus."[13] Regardless, some far-right users of Twitter saw the tweet as a genuine signal of support for antisemitism, and others found the tweet to be in poor taste even as a joke.[13]

Response[edit]

On June 3, 2016, following the publishing of the Mic article, Google pulled the Coincidence Detector extension from Chrome Web Store, citing a violation of its policies prohibiting "promotions of hate or incitement of violence." It had been downloaded around 2,500 times before its removal.[11][4] In the wake of Google's removal of the extension, some Twitter users, including Jews and non-Jews, intentionally put triple parentheses around their usernames in an act of solidarity.[6] White nationalists, in turn, put inverted echo parentheses around their usernames to indicate their non-Jewish heritage.[16] Author Jeffrey Goldberg from The Atlantic said that he hoped that Jews could reclaim the symbolism in the same way as some LGBT people had reclaimed the word "queer."[17]

Twitter's policies forbid users from engaging in targeted abuse or harassment of other users; European head of public policy Karen White stated that "hateful conduct has no place on Twitter and we will continue to tackle this issue head on alongside our partners in industry and civil society."[1] On May 31, 2016, Twitter, along with Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, jointly agreed to a European Union code of conduct obligating them to review valid notifications of illegal hate speech posted on their services within 24 hours.[18]

On June 6, 2016, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) announced that it had placed the triple parentheses in its database of symbols that it considers hate speech. CEO Jonathan Greenblatt explained that the symbol was "the online equivalent of tagging a building with anti-Semitic graffiti or taunting someone verbally," and that the ADL was "working with our partners in the tech industry to investigate this phenomenon more deeply."[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Fleishman, Cooper; Smith, Anthony (1 June 2016). "(((Echoes))), Exposed: The Secret Symbol Neo-Nazis Use to Target Jews Online". Mic. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  2. ^ Waldman, Katy (2 June 2016). "(((The Jewish Cowbell))): Unpacking a Gross New Meme From the Alt-Right". Slate. Retrieved 2 January 2017. 
  3. ^ Gunaratna, Shanika (10 June 2016). "Neo-Nazis tag (((Jews))) on Twitter as hate speech, politics collide". CBSNews.com. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2 January 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Google removes anti-Semitic app used to target Jews online". The Jerusalem Post. 4 June 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c "The Neo-Nazi (((Echoes))) Symbol Is Officially Hate Speech". Mic. Retrieved 7 June 2016. 
  6. ^ a b King, Hope (3 June 2016). "Google takes down Chrome extension targeting Jews". CNN. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  7. ^ Lang, Brian (1999). Making the Internet Family Friendly. pp. Section 2. ISBN 0-7852-7568-1. 
  8. ^ "The TRS Lexicon". TheRightStuff.biz. Retrieved 7 June 2016. 
  9. ^ "Google pulls Chrome extension that marked Jewish people online". The Verge. Retrieved 7 June 2016. 
  10. ^ "There's a Google Chrome Extension Used to Track and Expose 'Anti-White' Jews". Mediaite. Retrieved 7 June 2016. 
  11. ^ a b Menegus, Bryan (3 June 2016). "What Happened With That Anti-Semitic Chrome Extension?". Gizmodo. Retrieved 5 June 2016. 
  12. ^ Fleishman, Cooper; Smith, Anthony (2 June 2016). ""Coincidence Detector": The Google Chrome Extension White Supremacists Use to Track Jews". Mic. Retrieved 5 June 2016. 
  13. ^ a b c Hathaway, Jay (July 6, 2016). "This @dril joke about the Keebler Elves brought Nazi chaos to Weird Twitter". The Daily Dot. Retrieved August 24, 2017. 
  14. ^ @dril (June 28, 2016). "i refuse to consume any product that has been created by, or is claimed to have been created by, the (((Keebler Elves)))" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ Hess, Amanda (10 June 2016). "For the Alt-Right, the Message Is in the Punctuation". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 June 2016. 
  17. ^ Esensten, Andrew (7 June 2016). "How Jews Are Re-claiming a Hateful neo-Nazi Symbol on Twitter". Haaretz. Retrieved 8 June 2016. 
  18. ^ "Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft sign EU hate speech code". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 June 2016.