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This Code Is Helping People Get Away with Racism on Twitter

The trolls of 4chan have teamed up to Tweet their ways around being flagged or banned for filling our newsfeeds with racist remarks.


According to the Star-Telegram, there’s a new lingo that’s leading users of such services as Google, Yahoo and Skype to feel wary of mentioning them on social media. The code comes in response to Jigsaw, a Google program that was put in place to detect—and put a stop to—online harassment. Wired reports that the subsidiary’s Conversation AI software has the ability to zero in on hateful remarks with near-perfect accuracy.

“I want to use the best technology we have at our disposal to begin to take on trolling and other nefarious tactics that give hostile voices disproportionate weight,” Jigsaw founder and president Jared Cohen said.

Those “hostile voices” have certainly made themselves heard. According to BuzzFeed News, a group of 4chan users used the website’s message boards to discuss the idea of developing a code to get around Jigsaw’s efforts—i.e., to be racist without using overt slurs that could be found by a computer. Certain posts have since been deleted, but Twitter has yet to see the last of this scheme. Here’s a look at how it’s playing out on the Tweet screen.

Skype is a coded slur for the Jewish community.

And Google is their stand-in for the n-word.

And this isn’t even the first racism “code” on social media this year. Mic points out that so-called “echoes” are another coded version of anti-Semitism that’s been around for months now. The ((())) symbol singles out Jewish people, thus subjecting them to digital abuse.

Even worse? According to BuzzFeed and Mic, many of the posts and accounts making use of these codes are pro-Donald Trump for president.

Megan Sawey is a senior advertising major at Temple University. She maintains deep passions for puns, distance running, hula hooping and peanut butter. Originally from the woods of Western Pennsylvania, Megan now resides and writes in Philadelphia. You can find her on www.megansawey.com and www.girlslife.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @sanseysawey.
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