Neo-Nazis are using YouTube to recruit children as young as 12, experts reveal

Neo-Nazis are using live-streaming events on YouTube to recruit children as young as 12.

Counter-terrorism experts say a growing number of "extremely young" British teens are being drawn towards far-right ideologies after being targeted online by fascist mobs.

Their tactics include transmitting YouTube interviews with teens considered rising stars of the far right and live-streamed chats aimed at the "Gen Z" age group born in the late 1990s and early 2010s.

The gangs also exploit computer-gaming platforms to target youngsters.

Groups using such tactics include the Patriotic Alternative, a fascist organisation founded last year by the British National Party’s former director of publicity Mark Collett, 40.

It calls for anyone not white to be ejected from the UK.

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The group encouraged a 16-year-old to run Zoomer Night – a regular live-streamed event as part of its Patriotic Talk series.

In one recent Zoomer Night on YouTube four young men could be heard discussing the threat of "complete erasure of white Europeans" and "white genocide".

They discussed "white people being written out of their own history" and expressed their concerns that BAME – Black, Asian and minority ethnic – people were becoming the "new masters".

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"They want us wiped out, they want our complete erasure,” one said on the live-streamed chat about which hundreds commented.

Patrik Hermansson, a researcher at anti-fascist charity Hope Not Hate, said such events showed "a worrying willingness to make children active advocates and members of fascist organisations".

"The fact that those best suited to bring in young people to the far right are young people themselves has not been lost on them,’’ he added.

Jacob Davey, of think-tank ISD Global which researches extremism, said: "I think for a lot of people when you say far-right they think tattooed 40-year-old blokes with beer bellies and no hair.

"But what we’ve actually seen is a deliberate attempt by these groups to recruit younger people and we are starting to see that come to fruition.’’

Police believe the far right constitutes the fastest-growing terrorist threat to Britain and have foiled a spate of recent attacks.

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William Baldet, a practitioner in countering violent extremism, said youngsters were being groomed by the far-right on mainstream platforms such as YouTube.

Content was carefully put together so it did not break the law but it often contained "dog whistles" on issues such as multiculturalism or feminism.

In the comments far-right activists may direct individuals to less regulated social media platforms such as 4chan or Telegram.

Laura Towler, deputy leader of Patriotic Alternative, said: "It is not our intention to 'recruit' anybody because our way of thinking is already widespread.

"It is simply our intention to provide a voice for the millions of people who already agree with us.’’

YouTube said it had "strict policies that prohibit hate speech" and it had terminated 25,000 channels for breaching them.

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