In the early days of social media such as mIRC, putting someone’s name in three sets of parentheses meant you were giving them a ‘virtual hug’, but over the last few years on Twitter and Reddit, the use of three sets of parentheses around a user’s surname, called an “echo”, identifies them as a Jew and targets them for harassment by Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other ‘alt-right’ individuals.
An “echo” looks as follows, but in place of “jew”, it has the user’s name;
(((Echo))) – the Electronic Yellow Star of David
Beginning in 1939, the Nazis forced Jews to wear identifying badges (such as the one that appears on the left) to isolate and dehumanize them.
While the design of the badge varied from region to region, its purpose was the same as the (((echo))); to mark Jews as different and inferior to everyone else and facilitate the separation of Jews from the society, as a whole.
The (((echo))) is the electronic equivalent.
The (((Echo))) Exposed
Thursday, June 2, 2016, the technology section of online news outlet .Mic published a story titled “Coincidence Detector”: The Google Chrome Extension White Supremacists Use to Track Jews” which documented that an app extension called “Coincidence Detector” (available at the time in the Google Play Store) placed three sets of parentheses called an “echo” around user’s surnames, identifying them as Jews or others who are perceived as “anti-white”;
A Google Chrome plugin with the seemingly innocent name of “Coincidence Detector” has one sole purpose: compiling and exposing the identities of Jews and others who are perceived as “anti-white.”
Drawing from a user-generated list of Jewish names, the extension works in the background while users browse the web and encases the names in three sets of parentheses — for example, (((Fleishman))) — on web pages.
…White supremacists have begun using the construction, called an “(((echo))),” to single out Jewish figures in media and entertainment for harassment online, particularly on Twitter.
A screenshot of the app extension as available in the Google Play Store June 3 2016 and published in the .Mic article, indicates that the app was last updated on January 19, 2016, so was available for some time;
According to .Mic, it was uploaded to the Google Play Store by altrightmedia which it described as a “fringe conservative movement” and was promoted to “help you detect total coincidences about who has been involved in certain political movements and media empires“;
“White supremacists believe Jewish involvement in politics, media and entertainment is part of an enormous conspiracy.
The echo is intended to call attention to Jewish people’s supposedly corrosive effect on white society throughout Western history.”
As of Thursday, June 3, 2016, when the screenshot was taken, Coincidence Detector had 2,473 registered users, a 5 out of 5 star rating and most concerning; a database which consisted of 8,768 names of Jews and other “anti-whites” which was being regularly updated;
“With the click of a button, users are able to refresh Coincidence Detector to make sure their list of known Jews and other ‘anti-whites’ reflects the most recent additions to the database.”
Friday, June 3, 2016, one day after the .Mic article, Google pulled the extension for violating its hate speech policy, as its Terms and Conditions for apps explicitly prohibit “promotions of hate or incitement of violence“, however the database with the 8,768 names of Jews and other “anti-whites” still exists and is in the hands of the creators of the app.
Use of the (((Echo))) is Not New
According to an earlier article from .Mic from June 1 2016 titled “((Echoes))) Exposed: The Secret Symbol Neo-Nazis Use to Target Jews Online”, the origins of the “echo” can be traced “at least as far back as 2014“;
“The origins of the symbol ((( ))) can be traced to a hardcore, right-wing podcast called The Daily Shoah in 2014. It’s known as an “echo” in the anti-Semitic corners of the alt-right — a new, young, amorphous conservative movement that comprises trolls fluent in internet culture, free speech activists warring against political correctness and earnest white nationalists. Some use the symbol to mock Jews; others seek to expose supposed Jewish collusion in controlling media or politics. All use it to put a target on their heads.”
Origins of the (((Echo)))
According to the June 1 2016 .Mic article, the origins of (((echoes))) comes from the right-wing blog called the ‘Right Stuff’ and whose podcast ‘The Daily Shoah’ (“Shoah” meaning Holocaust) featured a segment called ‘Merchant Minute’ that gave Jewish names a cartoonish “echo” sound effect when uttered.
“In Right Stuff propaganda, you’ll often read that Jewish names ‘echo.’ According to the blog’s lexicon page “all Jewish surnames echo throughout history.” In other words, the supposed damage caused by Jewish people reverberates from decade to decade.”
When the (((Echo))) Was First Noticed
Use of the “echo” was noticed by some prominent journalists with recognizable Jewish names on Twitter in November 2015.
Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent with The Atlantic first noticed three parentheses around his name in November 2015 and Max Fisher of the New York Times noticed the same thing;
A white supremacist explained to Jeffrey Goldberg on Twitter
“It’s closed captioning for the Jew-blind“
Yair Rosenberg, a senior writer at Tablet Magazine was quoted in a June 3 2016 article in Motherboard, published by Vice News and titled “Jews are Taking Back Echoes from the Neo-Nazis” that the echo has been used for years on Reddit posts, ‘alt-right’ blogs, and on Twitter;
“Rosenberg has known for years that those parentheses are a secret code used by neo-Nazis to call out that Rosenberg is Jewish—a signal that he’s being watched or at least noticed by people who hate him.
“They want Jews to know they’re going after them,” Rosenberg told me. “It’s a signal to Jews and it’s a signal to people in their own group. It’s not that they want it to be a secret, but they don’t want to explain it to people. It’s a wink and a nod to other neo-Nazis and to Jews.”
Rosenberg says the parentheses show up in seemingly innocuous Reddit posts, on alt-right blogs, in emails from readers, and all the time in his Twitter mentions.”
Targeting Jews Using the (((Echo)))
Jonathan Weisman, editor in the Washington bureau of The New York Times wrote about being targeted online by Neo-Nazi’s using “the echo” in a story published in the Sunday Review on May 26, 2016, titled “The Nazi Tweets of ‘Trump God Emperor“;
The first tweet arrived as cryptic code, a signal to the army of the “alt-right” that I barely knew existed: “Hello ((Weisman)).”
“Care to explain?” I answered, intuiting that my last name in brackets denoted my Jewish faith.
“What, ho, the vaunted Ashkenazi intelligence, hahaha!” CyberTrump came back. “It’s a dog whistle, fool. Belling the cat for my fellow goyim.”
“The anti-Semitic hate, much of it from self-identified Donald J. Trump supporters hasn’t stopped since…Holocaust taunts, like a path of dollar bills leading into an oven, were followed by Holocaust denial. The Jew as leftist puppet master …was joined by the Jew as conservative fifth columnist, orchestrating war for Israel…”
“The imaginings by my tormentors of me as an Orthodox Jew in wide-brimmed hat and Hasidic garb were, of course, laughable. The truth is, I have become largely disconnected from Jewish life and faith over the years, and like many American Jews I have been lulled into complacency.”
Just weeks later, I found myself staring down a social-media timeline filled with the raw hate and anti-Semitic tropes that for centuries fueled expulsion, persecution, pogroms and finally genocide. I retweeted the choicest attacks for all to see, and with each retweet, more attacks followed, their authors gleefully seeking the exposure. Some people criticized me for offering it, but I argued, perhaps wrongly, that such hate needed airing.”
“An official at Twitter encouraged me to block the anti-Semites and report them to Twitter, but I have chosen to preserve my Twitter timeline as a research tool of sorts, a database of hate, and a shrine to 2016.
The only response I blocked and forwarded to Twitter was a photo of my disembodied head held aloft, long Orthodox hair locks called payot photoshopped on my sideburns and a skullcap placed as a crown. I let stand the image of a smiling Mr. Trump in Nazi uniform flicking the switch on a gas chamber containing my Photoshopped face.”
Reclaiming the (((Echo)))
After the initial report of the app in the June 3 2016 .Mic article, well-known Jewish users on Twitter began putting parentheses around their own names, as a way of reclaiming the echo.
According to Motherboard, published by Vice News’ June 3 2016 article, titled “Jews Are Taking Back (((Echoes))) From the Neo-Nazis“;
“Thursday evening, Rosenberg and other prominent Jewish writers started taking back that signal in an effort to raise awareness about what neo-Nazis are doing, to declare publicly that they are indeed Jewish… Rosenberg’s Twitter name is now (((Yair Rosenberg))); Atlantic national correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg’s name is now (((Goldberg))); Foreign Policy fellow Jamie Kirchick is (((Jamie Kirchick))) and so on.
After Rosenberg and Goldberg tweeted about changing their names, dozens of other people on Twitter followed suit. Now, a lot of non-Jews have started adding parentheses around their names as an act of solidarity (and to confuse and mock Neo-Nazis).
Jews are being singled out and identified and targeted online by Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other ‘alt-right’ individuals.
The (((echo))) is the electronic equivalent to the yellow badges Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis and its purpose is the same; to mark Jews as different and inferior to everyone else and facilitate the separation of Jews from the society.
Google deleted the app, however the database still exists.
Just 75 years ago, the world was silent as 6 million Jews were singled out, separated and exterminated. The very existence of the (((echo))) indicates that Jews can no longer afford to be complacent.
Antisemitism is not a thing of the past. Jew-hatred is alive and well in America and in many places in Europe.
The question is, will you remain silent?