Extremists and haters use the echo symbol, which originated in an anti-Semitic podcast in 2014, to highlight the names of those perceived to be Jewish and singling them out for harassment both online and off, according to the ADL. The symbol looks like this: (((echo))).
In recent days, Jewish users on Twitter have co-opted the parentheses and used them around their names in a show of solidarity with those targeted by neo-Nazis and other extremists on social media.
Over the past several weeks, the echo has been used by white supremacists and others as part of a pattern of harassment against a group of journalists including Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic, Jonathan Weisman of The New York Times, Julia Ioffe of GQ, Bethany Mandel of the New York Post and Ben Shapiro of The Daily Wire.
Last week, Google removed the Coincidence Detector browser extension from its Chrome Web Store after discovering that it was being used by extremists and anti-Semites to track Jews. The browser app used the three parentheses to single out those identified as Jews or having presumed Jewish last names.
“The echo symbol is the online equivalent of tagging a building with anti-Semitic graffiti or taunting someone verbally,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL’s CEO. “We at ADL take this manifestation of online hate seriously, and that’s why we’re adding this symbol to our database and working with our partners in the tech industry to investigate this phenomenon more deeply.”
ADL founded the Hate on Display database in October 2000 as part of its effort to track hate groups and help law enforcement, educators and other members of the public to identify symbols that serve as potential calling cards of extremists and anti-Semites.