Dr. Megan Squire is a professor of Computer Science at Elon University (North Carolina, USA). Her main research area is applying data science techniques to understand niche and extremist online communities, particularly radical right-wing groups on social media. Dr. Squire is the author of two books on data cleaning and data mining, and over 40 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, including several Best Paper awards. In 2017, she was named the Elon University Distinguished Scholar. She currently serves as a Senior Fellow for data analytics at the Southern Poverty Law Center, and as a Senior Fellow and head of the Technical Research Unit at the Center for Analysis of the Radical Right.
Podcasts and Videos
Live-streaming and White Nationalism - A New Moneymaking EnterpriseFrom the Center for Analysis of the Radical Right
- Podcast I talk with Right Rising about monetized propaganda. How are white nationalists using popular live-streaming to make money? (December, 2020)
How are extremist groups organizing online? Who are the key players and what do they believe? Which groups are growing and which are shrinking? Why are some online communities more toxic than others?
I collect, store, and analyze data - mostly from social media, but other sources as well - so we can understand how extremist and niche online communities work.
Here are a few of my latest research papers and findings.
Monetizing Propaganda (2021)
How right-wing extremists use video streaming to make money. Deep dive into the network of streamers and donors using the DLive service. (Read More)
The Pushshift Telegram Dataset (2020)
Describes our dataset of 27.8K channels and 317M messages from 2.2M unique users, designed to study social movements, protests, political extremism, and disinformation. (Read More on Arxiv)
The Pushshift Reddit Dataset (2020)
Describes our dataset of Reddit's millions of subreddits, millions of users, and hundreds of millions of comments(Read More on Arxiv)
Understanding Gray Networks using Social Media Data (2019)
Is it possible to understand the structure of a clandestine network, for example Proud Boys, using just their social media trace data? (Read More)
Radical Right-Wing Women on Facebook (2019)
At what rates and in what capacity do women participate in extreme far-right ("radical right") political online communities? (Read More)
Anti-Muslim Hate Network on Facebook (2018)
How do anti-Muslim political groups use the Facebook social network to build their own online communities? Do they crossover with other far-right political ideologies, such as anti-immigrant or white nationalists? (Read More)
Analyzing the "Summer of Hate" (2018)
How "united" is the far-right? Which groups share members? Which ideologies tend to attract the same people? Which groups are responsible for uniting such distinct far-right ideologies at an event like the Charlottesville rally? (Read more)
Rudeness on Linux (2017)
How do the leaders of the Linux Kernel project write in email? What are the salient features of their writing, and can we discern one leader from another? (Read more)
Here are some long-term projects I'm working on that have not yet been published.
Broadcasting Hate: Understanding the Right-Wing Extremist Podcast Ecosystem
This project is a long-term study of several dozen extreme right-wing, racist podcasts. We build the network of guests and hosts, and show how the ecosystem grows and shifts over time. (Manuscript under review)
Network and Text Analysis of Christian Identity Hate Groups
For this work we mine decades of Christian Identity historical documents to create a social network of key players. We then compare that to the current CI landscape on the social media platform Telegram.
Popular Press Writing
My "popular press" computer science writing has been published for media and think tanks:
Why is Telegram so appealing to terror groups?
What are the key technical features that make the Telegram app so appealing to hate and terror groups? (Read more at Center for Analysis of the Radical Right)
Alt-Tech & the radical right: part 2
Inside the radical right's video addiction: Moving from Youtube to DLive & Entropy (Read more at Center for Analysis of the Radical Right)
Alt-Tech & the radical right: part 1
Why are radical right groups shifting to "alternative" tech? (Read more at Center for Analysis of the Radical Right)
How Big Tech and Policymakers Miss the Mark When Fighting Online Extremism
Why is it still so easy to find violent white supremacist content online, even though social media companies keep claiming that they are working overtime to delete it? (Read more at Brookings Institution)
Why the next terror manifesto will be even harder to track
It's difficult to track the spread of digital materials, and new technologies will make it even harder (Read more at Salon)
End-to-End encryption isn't enough security for "real people"
Everyday folks should work on improving security where we are most vulnerable—on our own devices (Read More at Scientific American)
Why we choose terrible passwords, and how to fix them
Humans are terrible at memorizing long, unpredictable sequences - how can we make the chore of choosing a password more palatable? (Read More at CBS News)
Why we should not know our own passwords
Can we create passwords even their owners don't know? (Read more at Time)
Media CoverageI've discussed my work on right-wing extremists and toxic online communities with numerous media outlets, including:
- MLive. January 3. Misinformation and conspiracies took starring role in Michigan's political movements
- Mother Jones. January 5. Wednesday's Protests Are Primed to Turn More Trump Supporters into Dangerous Extremists
- NBC News. January 5. Violent threats ripple through far-right internet forums ahead of protest
- BBC news. Television interview, live. January 7. Analysis of extremists involved in US Capitol Siege.
- The Trace. January 7. 'Either We Finally Take This Seriously...or This Gets Worse'
- Wall St. Journal. January 7. 'Trump or War': How the Capitol Mob Mobilized on Social Media
- WIRED. January 7. A Game Livestreaming Site Has Become an Extremist Haven
- MLive. January 7. Far-right activist who encouraged U.S. Capitol occupation also organized 'stop the steal' rally in Michigan
- Southern Poverty Law Center HATEWATCH. January 7. Meet the White Nationalist Organizer Who Spewed Hate Against Lawmakers
- NPR, Morning Edition. Radio interview, pre-recorded. January 8. Did Minimizing Far-Right's Threat Lead To The Breach Of U.S. Capitol?
- Time. January 8. Like, Share, Recruit: How a White-Supremacist Militia Uses Facebook to Radicalize and Train New Members
- LA Times. January 8. Essential California: The social media reckoning (again)
- Columbia Journalism Review. January 8. The mob that stormed the capital was its own media
- NBC News. January 8. Right-wing extremists vow to return to Washington for Joe Biden's inauguration
- New York Times. January 8. Pro-Trump Mob Livestreamed Its Rampage, and Made Money Doing It
- ProPublica-FRONTLINE. January 9. Members of Several Well-Known Hate Groups Identified at Capitol Riot
- NPR, Weekend Edition. Radio interview, pre-recorded. January 10. Trump Is Leaving Office, But His Supporters Are Here To Stay
- Time. January 10. 'Our First Martyr.' How Ashli Babbitt Is Being Turned Into a Far-Right Recruiting Tool
- Associated Press. January 11. A theater of propaganda: The Capitol, cameras and selfies
- Mother Jones. January 11. On Telegram, White Nationalists are Trying to Radicalize Those Fleeing Parler
- MLive. January 11. Security increased at Michigan Capitol as FBI warns of possible armed protests
- Voice of America. Video, pre-recorded. January 12. After Trump Social Media Ban, Questions About Future of Online Speech
- NBC. January 12. Extremists move to secret online channels to plan for Inauguration Day in D.C.
- The Guardian. January 13. Rightwingers flock to 'alt tech' networks as mainstream sites ban Trump
- CBC. January 13. Anti-government website hosted in Montreal shut down after promoting armed protests in U.S.
- FiveThirtyEight. January 13. What Kicking Trump Off Twitter Can — And Can’t — Do
- WTTW PBS, Chicago. Television interview, live. January 13. Analysis of social media platforms used by extremists involved in US Capitol insurrection.
- NBC. January 13. Telegram, a recent haven for the far right, purges extremist content
- WUSA-9, Washington, DC. Television interview, pre-recorded. January 13. Tech specialists call for more social media security ahead of inauguration
- Financial Times. January 13. FBI races to track insurrectionists before Joe Biden’s inauguration
- New York Magazine's The Cut. January 13. Will Right-Wing Violence Erupt on Inauguration Day?
- Katie Couric Media. January 14. Did President Trump’s Ban From Twitter Violate Free Speech? These Experts Say Not Exactly
- WIRED-UK. January 14. Trump's mob is on Telegram and they’re already getting organised
- Gizmodo. January 15. Leaked Parler Data Points to Users at Police Stations, U.S. Military Bases
- The Economist "Checks and Balances" podcast. January 15. On mute—holding Donald Trump to account
- CNN. January 19. Fearing more violence, online platforms are cracking down on livestreams from Washington
- ProPublica. January 19. Twitter and YouTube Banned Steve Bannon. Apple Still Gives Him Millions of Listeners
- Southern Poverty Law Center HATEWATCH. January 19. Meet the White Nationalist Organizer Who Spewed Hate Against Lawmakers
- Vox. January 20. Why right-wing extremists’ favorite new platform is so dangerous
- Spectrum News. January 20. "A Long Time Coming": A Conversation with N.C. Professor Who Tracks Online Extremism
- NPR, All Things Considered. Radio interview, pre-recorded. January 22. Alternative Social Media Platforms Become Popular Among Some Trump Supporters
- The Wire, China. January 24. The Crypto Kid
- Financial Times. January 25. White nationalists target scattered Trump supporters
- Reuters. January 25. Online merchants linked to QAnon down, but not out, following platform bans
- New York Times. January 26. They Found a Way to Limit Big Tech’s Power: Using the Design of Bitcoin
- The 74. January 27. How White Extremists Teach Kids to Hate
- Business Insider. February 1. Signal barely knows anything about its tens of millions of new users. Experts and employees worry it's an extremist free-for-all.
- The Trace. February 2. Keybase, a Platform Owned by Zoom, Will Ban Groups Sharing Blueprints for 3D-Printed Guns
- The Trace. February 2. What Are 3D-Printed Guns, and Why Are They Controversial?
- USA Today. February 5. Crowdfunding hate: How white supremacists and other extremists raise money from legions of online followers
- The Trace. February 6. Extremists Are Using Gun Rights to Attract New Recruits
- Financial Times. February 10. Big Tech needs to tackle the white supremacists of Gen Z
- CNN. February 19. How White nationalists evade the law and continue profiting off hate
- Gizmodo. February 24. Your Travel Guide to the Rudderless Right-Wing Web After Trump
- The Guardian. March 10. US far-right extremists making millions via social media and cryptocurrency
- The Guardian. March 11. Gab: hack gives unprecedented look into platform used by far right
- The Guardian. March 12. Far-right supporters move to open source to evade censorship
- ABC News. March 12. How the far-right group behind AFPAC is using Twitter to grow its movement
- New York Times. March 14. Police Shrugged Off the Proud Boys, Until They Attacked the Capitol
- NPR, All Things Considered. March 16. Across The Internet, A Game Of Whac-A-Mole Is Underway To Root Out Extremism
- USA Today. March 28. Insurrection fundraiser: Capitol riot extremists, Trump supporters raise money for lawyer bills online
- Chicago Tribune. March 29. Cancel proof? Activists are trying to get Nick Fuentes, a far-right video streamer from the western suburbs, kicked off the internet. It might be impossible
- ABC News. March 30. Militia extremists developing strategies to work around social media crackdown, DHS memo warns
- Atlanta Journal-Constitution. April 2. New focus for vaccine push: Republican men
- Salon. April 8. White nationalist "groyper" movement links up with anti-vaxxers, threatens use of weapons
- NBC News. April 11. 'White Lives Matter' rallies flop as hardly anyone shows up
- BBC Business Daily podcast, pre-recorded. April 12. Telegram in the Spotlight (10:59 mark)
- PBS and ProPublica, Frontline. Television pre-recorded. April 13. American Insurrection (13:50 mark)
- Gizmodo. April 14. White Extremists Sought Murders of Politicians and Cops After Capitol Siege
- BBC. April 23. Telegram misogyny: 'They wanted to tie me and my child to a horse'
- MLive. April 27. Pics or it didn’t happen: Indoctrinated on Facebook, Capitol rioters turn to social media to rehash their exploits
- New York Times. April 27. Extremists Find a Financial Lifeline on Twitch
- Raw Story. April 28. Feds seize funds from white nationalist leader that may have been donated by mysterious now-dead French donor
- Southern Poverty Law Center "Sounds like hate". Podcast, pre-recorded. May 12. Season 2, Episode 1: "Baseless, Part IV"
- Hearst television. Television interview, pre-recorded. May 12. Hate in the Homeland, Part 2: Monetization of hate online soars
- Southern Poverty Law Center "Sounds like hate". Podcast, pre-recorded. May 19. Season 2, Episode 2: "Baseless, Part V"
- Washington Post. May 21. Trump is sliding toward online irrelevance. His new blog isn't helping.
- New York Times. January 16. Virginia Capital on Edge as F.B.I. Arrests Suspected Neo-Nazis Before Gun Rally.
- New York Times. January 17. Who Is the Man Behind the Gun Rally That Has Virginia On Edge?
- CBC-Radio Canada. Radio interview, pre-recorded. January 23. Former soldier, alleged neo-Nazi Patrik Mathews denied bail in U.S.
- CBC News Canada. January 23. Former soldier, alleged neo-Nazi Patrik Mathews denied bail in U.S.
- Voice of America. March 17. Once Ardent Trump Supporters, White Nationalists Splinter Ahead of Presidential Vote.
- Raw Story. March 24. Gleeful neo-Nazis see echoes of the 1930s as America plunges into a coronavirus crisis.
- KCTV-5 Kansas City. Television interview, pre-recorded. March 27. Domestic terror suspect killed by FBI wanted to bomb hospital.
- KSHB-TV Kansas City. Television interview, pre-recorded. March 27. FBI: Terrorism suspect who planned to bomb hospital visited neo-Nazi chatrooms.
- Voice of America. April 22. Far-Right Extremists Publish 25,000 Email Addresses Allegedly Tied to COVID Fight.
- Voice of America. April 25. How Far-Right Extremists are Exploiting the COVID Pandemic.
- New York Times. May 3. The Coronavirus Becomes a Battle Cry for U.S. Extremists.
- Daily Kos. May 5. The right may have cooked up the Boogaloo bois, but will find fascists are beyond their control.
- Raw Story. May 6. Homeland Security issues a startling internal alert after lockdown protester gets arrested for building pipe bombs..
- Right Wing Watch. May 14. Capital Research Center Employee Favorite Source for White Nationalist Smear Campaign Against Ahmaud Arbery.
- Times of San Diego. May 28. Behind the Troll Mask: Santee's Swastika Man and His Expert Translator.
- NBC News. May 31. Videos, threats, but few signs protests have been stoked by 'outsider' extremist groups.
- AP News. May 31. Officials see extremist groups, disinformation in protests
- New York Times. May 31. Many Claim Extremists Are Sparking Protest Violence. But Which Extremists?
- The Daily Beast. June 1. The Bizarre Downfall of a Neo-Nazi Who Used a COVID Protest to Target Jews
- Voice of America. June 1. Four Extremist Groups Suspected of Involvement in Protest Violence
- Southern Poverty Law Center Hatewatch. June 2. North Carolina Protest Shooting Suspect Appears To Have Ties to Organized Neo-Confederacy, Hate Groups
- CNN. June 3. Gun-toting members of the Boogaloo movement are showing up at protests
- WXII Greensboro. Television interview, pre-recorded. June 3. Greensboro, Asheboro protests attract gun-toting 'Boogaloo' group to demonstrations
- Rolling Stone. June 5. Far-Right ‘Boogaloo Boys’ Are Trying to Incite Violence at Protests
- The Daily Beast. June 8. The Disturbing Appeal of Boogaloo Violence to Military Men
- NBC News. June 11. Man charged in deputy ambush scrawled extremist 'Boogaloo' phrases in blood
- WIRED. June 18. The Meme-Fueled Rise of a Dangerous, Far-Right Militia
- Southern Poverty Law Center Hatewatch. June 23. 'There Is No Political Solution': Accelerationism in the White Power Movement
- Washington Post. June 24. The Technology 202: Facebook struggles to keep violent ‘boogaloo’ content off its platform
- Vice News. June 24. The U.S. Military Has a Boogaloo Problem.
- Vice News. June 25. Discord Just Shut Down the Biggest 'Boogaloo' Server for Inciting Violence
- Australian Broadcasting Corporation. June 27. Antifa, Boogaloo boys, white nationalists: Which extremists showed up to the US Black Lives Matter protests?
- Reveal News from the Center for Investigative Journalism. Podcast, pre-recorded. June 27. The Evolution of All-American Terrorism
- The Informant & The Trace. June 29. Selling the boogaloo
- NBC News. June 30. Facebook to Remove Anti-Government 'Boogaloo' Groups
- Huffington Post. July 1. Facebook Cracked Down On Extremism. It Only Took A Major Boycott And Multiple Killings.
- Charlotte Observer. July 2. Blue Igloo gone: Did Facebook delete page tied to armed marches in Raleigh?
- Slate. July 31. Confederate Groups Are Thriving on Facebook. What Does That Mean for the Platform?
- The Informant. August 1. Use of Force: Boogaloo website urges "justifiable use of force" against members of law enforcement
- TIME. August 20. How Far-Right Personalities And Conspiracy Theorists Are Cashing In On The Pandemic Online.
- Raw Story. August 25. A far-right group with a history of violence plans to join a QAnon-inspired march in North Carolina
- NBC News. September 1. Where protesters go, armed militias, vigilantes likely to follow with little to stop them
- Associated Press. September 4. Online bans fail to silence US extremists drawn to protests
- USA Today. September 29. Donald Trump sidesteps call to condemn white supremacists — and the Proud Boys were 'extremely excited' about it
- Time. September 29. President Trump Was Asked to Condemn White Supremacists. He Gave Them 'a Huge Win' Instead
- NBC News. September 29. Proud Boys celebrate after Trump's debate callout
- BBC London. September 30. Live television interview. Who are the Proud Boys?
- Gizmodo. September 30. 'Stand Back and Stand By' Already Selling on Extremist Proud Boys T-Shirts, Thanks to Trump
- Buzzfeed News. September 30. The Proud Boys Got A Bunch Of New Followers After Trump Said To "Stand By"
- New York Times. September 30. Far-Right Group That Trades in Political Violence Gets a Boost
- WRAL. September 30. Trump's debate comments energize white supremacist group
- LA Times. October 1. Who are the Proud Boys?
- ABC-10 (Sacramento). October 1. Other local extremist groups a threat despite focus on 'Proud Boys'
- Bloomberg. October 1. Debate Gives Fresh Notoriety to Vice Co-Founder's Proud Boys
- Talking Points Memo. October 1. https://www.npr.org/2020/10/22/926339006/heres-where-the-threat-of-militia-activity-around-the-elections-is-the-highest
- Southern Poverty Law Center Hatewatch. October 7. Far-Right Pennsylvania Politics Blog Was Mirrored by Obscure Russian Website
- AP News. October 8. Law enforcement preps for potential election-related unrest
- New York Times. October 13. Riled Up: Misinformation Stokes Calls for Violence on Election Day
- Southern Poverty Law Center "Sounds like hate". Podcast, pre-recorded. October 15. Season 1, Episode 3: "Baseless, Part II".
- NPR. October 16. How Zello Became A Recruitment & Organizing Tool For The Far Right
- NPR. October 22. Here's Where The Threat Of Militia Activity Around The Elections Is The Highest
- Toronto Star. October 22. Canadian Forces investigates after mystery man in secret recording claims to be a soldier — and a neo-Nazi
- Bloomberg. October 23. Americans Are Frantically Buying Military Gear Before the Election
- Rolling Stone. November 3. An American Powder Keg
- Atlanta Journal Constitution. November 17. Online sales fuel fringe movements
- Southern Poverty Law Center HATEWATCH. November 17. Extremists Are Cashing in on a Youth-Targeted Gaming Website
- Gizmodo. January 9. Self-Described Proud Boy, QAnon Believer Arrested for Allegedly Murdering Brother With Sword.
- BBC 5. Radio interview, live. January 26. End-to-end encryption and the Facebook merger with Whatsapp and Instagram.
- Buzzfeed News. March 18. Anti-Muslim Hate Speech Is Absolutely Relentless On Social Media Even As Platforms Crack Down On Other Extremist Groups.
- Snopes. March 19. 'The Ladder Down to Hell': How Social Media Breeds Hate Speech.
- Voice of America. April 10. US White Nationalists Barred by Facebook Find Haven on Russia Site.
- NBC News. May 15. The feds need to up their game against domestic extremists, critics say.
- Buzzfeed News. May 30. White Nationalist Groups Banned By Facebook Are Still On The Platform.
- Reveal News from the Center for Investigative Journalism. Podcast, pre-recorded. June 8. Hate in the homeland.
- Reveal News from the Center for Investigative Journalism. June 15. To protect and slur: Inside hate groups on Facebook, police officers trade racist memes, conspiracy theories and Islamophobia
- Voice of America. July 17. Many White Nationalists Praise Controversial Trump Tweets.
- WFAA Dallas-8. Television Interview, pre-recorded. Terror in El Paso. August 4. URL
- Wall St. Journal. September 4. 'So What's His Kill Count?': The Toxic Online World Where Mass Shooters Thrive.
- Reveal News from the Center for Investigative Journalism. September 30. Hundreds of cops are in extremist Facebook groups. Why haven't their departments done anything about it?
- New York Times. October 9. Assailant Live-Streamed Attempted Attack on German Synagogue.
- New York Times. October 9. 2,200 Viewed Germany Shooting Before Twitch Removed Post.
- NBC News. October 9. German shooter who killed 2 on Yom Kippur livestreamed killings.
- The Verge. October 9. An anti-Semitic shooting in Germany was live-streamed on Twitch.
- Bloomberg. October 9. Amazon Removes Synagogue Attack From Twitch Service.
- WELT. October 10. Twitch: Die Schaubühne des Halle-Attentäters im Internet.
- EuroNews. October 10. Halle: la diretta della sparatoria vista da cinque persone, ma il problema è la propagazione online.
- Independent. October 10. Germany Shooting: How Live Streamed Murder Videos Became Propaganda Tools And How Tech Firms Are Resisting.
- Straits Times. October 10. Amazon removes German synagogue attack from Twitch streaming service.
- DW. October 11. German synagogue attacker's online extremist circles revealed.
- Gizmodo. October 11. Halle Gunman Confesses to Livestreamed Shooting, Allegedly Posted Manifesto Online.
- Buzzfeed News. October 11. Far-Right Halle Shooter Allegedly Posted A Manifesto With Xbox-Like 'Achievements' To Anime Message Board Before Livestreaming Attack.
- Radio New Zealand. Radio interview, live. October 11. Spreading terror online - moving from Twitch to Telegram.
- WLOS ABC-13 Asheville. Television interview, pre-recorded. November 18. News 13 Investigates: White supremacy and the new face of hate across the Carolinas.
- Financial Times. December 15. Far-right extremists flock to protest messenger app Telegram.
- Online Hate Prevention Institute. December 23. Hate and Violent Extremism from an Online Sub-Culture: The Yom Kippur Terrorist Attack in Halle, Germany.
- WIRED. January 16. Meet Antifa's Secret Weapon Against Far-Right Extremists.
- Newsweek. January 18. Alt-right Neo-Nazis Are Targeting The Women's March.
- Southern Poverty Law Center HATEWATCH. May 5. The Persistence of Anti-Muslim Hate on Facebook.
- Buzzfeed News. August 4. Here's How Anti-Muslim Groups On Facebook Overlap With A Range Of Far-Right Extremism.
- Gizmodo. August 5. Anti-Muslim Facebook is Even Worse Than We Thought.
- New Yorker. September 19. After Years of Abusive E-mails, the Creator of Linux Steps Aside
- Motherboard. September 26. The Culture War Comes to Linux.
- Mic. October 2. How not to deal with a Confederate monument.
- Daily Beast. November 2. Pittsburgh Shooting Suspect Robert Bowers Worked on Gab to Dox Left-Wing Blogger.
- Huffington Post. December 8. A Prominent White Supremacist Is An EMT In Virginia. Now The State Is Investigating Him.
- Dave Eggers PEN H. G. Wells Lecture. December 21. The violations start with us.
- Newsweek. November 19. (It's Ok To Be White: How Fox News Is Helping To Spread Neo-nazi Propaganda.)
- The Academic Minute. Audio Series. July 27. (Password Security.)
- Radio New Zealand. Radio interview, pre-recorded. May 22. (Why we choose terrible passwords.)
- The W with Vicky Dávila. W Radio (Columbia). Radio interview, live (in translation). May 9. (Password Security.)
- The Matt Townsend Show. BYU Radio (Sirius XM). Radio Interview, live. April 5. (Password Security.)
- The Guardian. December 17. The Day I Went Hunting for the Ku Klux Klan.
- Hearsay Culture Radio Show #224. Radio interview, pre-recorded. KZSU Stanford University 90.1 FM. November 13. (Data Mining.)
Other Writing and Appearances
In addition to many research papers and articles for popular media, I have also written two books, Clean Data, and Mastering Data Mining with Python.