Google kills Chrome extension that ID's Jews

Jun 06, 2016, 2:59 PM EDT
(Source: Andy Li/flickr)
(Source: Andy Li/flickr)

Last week, the tech news site Mic reported that a Chrome browser extension dubbed "Coincidence detector" was actually an anti-Semitic tool used to surround Jewish names on the web with three parentheses. Google has said since that it has disabled the extension, and has been removed from the Chrome store for violating Google's hate speech policy.

Mic reported:

A Google Chrome plugin with the seemingly innocent name of "Coincidence Detector" has one sole purpose: compiling and exposing the identities of Jews and others who are perceived as "anti-white." Drawing from a user-generated list of Jewish names, the extension works in the background while users browse the web and encases the names in three sets of parentheses — for example, (((Fleishman))) — on web pages. 

 
The extension was developed by a far-right group called alt-right.
 
It had around 2,500 users and a database of 8,800 common Jewish names which it could pick out on websites reported tech site Mic.
 
The symbol stems from a right-wing group called the Right Stuff, who told Mic it was "a critique of Jewish power".
 
Jonathan Weisman, deputy Washington editor of the New York Times, wrote about his experience of receiving a tweet with his name wrapped around with brackets.
 
When he asked what it meant the tweeter replied that he was "belling the cat".
 
"The anti-Semitic hate hasn't stopped since," wrote Mr Weisman, who has now altered his name on Twitter to include the brackets himself. Others are doing the same in support.
 
 
A screenshot of the extension's installation page showed that it was last updated on Jan. 16. Its publisher was listed as "altrightmedia," likely a nod to the similarly-named ultraconservative movement in the US.
 
According to the screenshot, the app's description was vague about its purpose and lacked any mention of Jews or far-right ideologies. It said the Coincidence Detector "can help you detect total coincidences about who has been involved in certain political movements and media empires."
 
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but its terms of service for Chrome apps explicitly prohibit "promotions of hate or incitement of violence."
 
In addition to prohibiting hate speech, the company has recently increased its scrutiny of how browser plugins handle users' data. Starting July 14, Chrome app developers must post a privacy policy, use encryption to handle sensitive data, and ask users to consent to the collection of personal or sensitive data.
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