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April 23, 2013

Hate App Targets Towson University

Update 8/2/13: A new White Student Union has formed at Georgia State University by freshman Patrick Sharp.

The increasing exploitation of easy-to-use software to create smartphone apps by hate groups signals a move into a new realm of digital propaganda.

Some hate groups, like the neo-confederate League of the South, have produced apps intended for a general audience. Others, however, are developing apps with specific propaganda targets in mind. For example, the Towson White Student Union, founded by white supremacist Matthew Heimbach, a student at Towson University in Maryland, has created an app specifically targeting students at the school.

Like the League of the South’s app, the Towson White Student Union (Towson WSU) app is visually crude and technically rudimentary, primarily offering a collection of links. In the case of the Towson WSU app, the links lead to blogs, a group Facebook page, a Twitter account for the group’s organizer, a Google search results page, and a YouTube channel for the group.

These Android apps are not available through the authorized Google Play website. However, as Android apps do not need to be certified for installation (unlike iPad/iPod/iPhone apps), they are readily available through unofficial apps distribution websites.

Years ago, technological advances made it easy for hate groups to create websites without actually having sophisticated computer knowledge or skills. As the prevalence of wireless devices increases and easy-to-use app creation software proliferates, the presence of this sort of smartphone and tablet app will undoubtedly increase.

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March 9, 2012

Controversial Student Group Covers Campus with Racist Message

Matthew Heimbach, YWC leader at Towson
The Towson University chapter of Youth for Western Civilization (YWC), a controversial, far-right nationwide student organization, has claimed responsibility for chalking the racist message, “white pride” all over the campus. Students at the school in Maryland often use chalk to write messages or advertise events on campus sidewalks.
The term “white pride” originated from and is commonly used by white supremacist groups, including neo-Nazis and racist skinheads.  The leader of the YWC at Towson, Matthew Heimbach, asserted that the group wrote the message because it wanted to celebrate its own pride and heritage, as other groups on campus do.
As a nationwide group the YWC claims that its chapters are open to people of all backgrounds. However, YWC’s promotion of white pride at Towson belie that contention. This is not the first time the group has promoted white supremacist ideals. In the spring of 2011, the nationwide YWC did a joint fund-raising campaign with well-known white supremacist Jared Taylor.
When Heimbach addressed a meeting held by the school to deal with the racial tension that the “white pride” messages engendered, he reportedly wore a T-shirt with a Confederate flag in the front, further inflaming the situation. The Confederate flag is a racially charged symbol of hatred and slavery that is offensive to many people.

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