romea - logo
August 9, 2022

 

SEARCH
 

UK: Right-wing extremists use social networks to propagandize through kidnapping hoax

London, 6.2.2014 22:56, (ROMEA)
The poster with the allegedly
The poster with the allegedly "missing" Amy Hamilton (Source: Facebook.com)

British newspaper The Independent reports that during the past week, thousands of British users of social networking sites have been sharing a poster calling on people to help a little girl allegedly kidnapped by an "Asian gang". Little "Amy Hamilton", however, doesn't exist - she is the creation of an ultra-right group, Britons against Left-Wing Extremism, who have been using the image for propaganda purposes.  

The poster showed a little girl with long, sparkling blonde hair wearing a pink undershirt and an innocent expression in her enormous blue eyes beneath a flashy inscription reading "Missing Person - Amy Hamilton". The photograph was rapidly circulated on social networks accompanied by this brief information about the little girl:  "Six-year-old Amy Hamilton was last seen in the London suburb of Croydon wearing blue jeans and a pink t-shirt. Little Amy was kidnapped by an Asian gang, please help!" read the poster, adding that "Every share counts".   

Britons, moved by the tragedy of the angelic-looking little blonde girl, were not indifferent to her fate and followed those instructions. During last week alone, thousands of social networking users shared the call to action in the hope that thanks to their activity, the little girl would be rescued from her remorseless kidnappers.  

Spreading propaganda without knowing it

Amy Hamilton does not actually exist, however. The photograph was obtained by the authors of the extremist internet server Daily Bale, who used the Flickr photo sharing service to transform it into a propaganda tool.

Their aim was, in the words of the editor of the Daily Bale, Steven Sodholmy, "to raise awareness (...) of the cruel reality of Asian gangs", which the server claims are boisterously wreaking havoc all over Britain. "Our poster of the kidnapped Amy Hamilton was shared by a fabulous 5 000 people. We hope the Asiatics who are responsible for her kidnapping are caught," Joshua Bonehill, another contributor to the Daily Bale, was quoted as saying with relish.

Britons who wanted to help the fictitious little girl by sharing the news of her disappearance were actually participating in the spread of racist propaganda without being aware of it. A local newspaper, the Croydon Advertiser, proved at the end of last year that the alleged kidnapping of little Amy was a pure fraud, and had also reported that the name "Amy Hamilton" was not listed in the police register of persons reported as abducted. 

"The Amy Case" has become exemplary proof of the fact that social networks are a double-edged sword - on the one hand, they make information greatly accessible at top speed, but on the other hand, they entail the risk of superficial communications that can be exploited with great ease. The police, moreover, have warned that even though activity by civilians in cases of kidnapped children is helpful and necessary, it can very often also represent a difficult obstacle for investigators.  

"When we publicize information about abducted persons, we are relying on the support of the media and the public. However, such false calls for help are dangerous and in poor taste, as they detract attention away from genuine cases," The Independent quoted a Croydon police officer as saying.


František Bikár, lidovky.cz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
Views: 1630x

Related articles:

Tags:  

Extremism, Facebook, Média, Velká Británie, Xenofobie



HEADLINE NEWS

More articles from category







..
romea - logo