Pepe the Frog has been added on the Anti-Defamation League database, which includes the most common hate symbols, encountered either on the streets or online.
According to a statement made by Oren Segal, the director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, a lot of hate symbols which were traditionally seen in the street, have migrated to the virtual space. “We realize this year that more people are likely to come across hate symbols every day on their phones or online than necessarily in their neighbourhood”, Segal told Mashable
The fact that Pepe the Frog has been added on the Anti-Defamation League database is new, but far from being unpreceded. In 2014, white nationalism has exploded on Twitter. As early as then, white nationalist movements have become dominant on the social network, according to a study led by the George Washington University. Also named “the alt-right” movement, it is resent not only on Twitter, but on racist websites as well (see 4Chan and 8Chan).
A great number of those posting under the alt-right umbrella have expressed their support for the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, especially after his anti-immigration platform, which he presented in detail on August 31, during a speech.
The Anti-Defamation League database added, just months ago, another symbol: (((echo))). The symbol is used by anti-Semites to identify other people as Jewish. Just as the echo symbol, Pepe the Frog is proof of the fact that white nationalism and neo-Nazi attitude transpire in social media now more than ever. And it has enlarged the list of names it is known by with yet another one: the „Pepe-loving” population.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, most of the individuals that have contributed to Pepe The Frog being added on Anti-Defamation League database, those that empower the concept of the alt-right movement, are mostly young people who keep their anonymity and who have been exposed to repeated hate messages on Reddit, Twitter, 4Chan and 8Chan.