For anyone who has ever wondered whether their neighbors are Nazis, a recently launched website might be of service. The site, called FashMaps, showcases a live map that its creators say is meant to highlight the presence of fascism around the world.
The “Nazis in Your Neighborhood” map, which is dotted with dozens of red circles across the United States, South America, parts of Europe, Asia and Australia, pinpoints towns and counties where purported neo-Nazis live and congregate. Their locations are culled by FashMaps’ creators — five anonymous individuals — using the message boards from the former Daily Stormer website.
That neo-Nazi site, founded by Andrew Anglin, whom The Atlantic has called the “alt-right’s most vicious troll and propagandist,” was forced into the underground of the internet — the dark web — after being banned by multiple web-hosting companies. Despite The Daily Stormer’s diminished presence online, the creators of FashMaps — not to be confused with FASHmap, a fashion events site — found its message boards and forums to be quite active, with participants sharing locations for actual gatherings.
“I was surprised to find how freely they were talking about their locations,” one of the map’s creators who goes by the pseudonym Simon told Vice News. When asking another reporter to call him Simon, the FashMaps creator pointed that reporter to the Wikipedia page for Simon Wiesenthal, the famous Nazi hunter.
Simon and his associates create fake accounts and scour the message boards and forums for information about fascist and neo-Nazi gatherings, often called “book clubs” and “pool parties,” to see whether they list a location or include any conversations about the event. Then they plot a red circle on the approximate location on their map.
We've added some new data points in Australia. More are coming. You may need to clear your browser cache for the new data to load.https://t.co/RK6tfaLUqD— FashMaps (@fashmaps) January 31, 2018
Launched on January 28, the FashMaps map had already garnered more than 1 million page views by February 3, and the site’s Twitter page continues to post on newly added data points. A tweet from February 3 read: “New data points added in Mississippi, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Arkansas. Check it out!”
New data points added in Mississippi, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Arkansas. Check it out!— FashMaps (@fashmaps) February 3, 2018
FashMaps isn’t geared toward inciting violence against neo-Nazis or fascists, Simon told Vice News. Its main purpose is to raise awareness about the presence of neo-Nazis in communities, even in blue states or seemingly progressive areas.
“People, especially liberals, tend to think that just because they live in a big, blue metropolis, that their neighborhoods/cities are immune from the spread of this hateful philosophy,” Simon explained to Central Track, a Dallas-based outlet. “In reality, those tend to be some of the best breeding grounds for fascists especially around institutions of higher education.”
FashMaps also includes a map of terrorist acts perpetrated by Nazis, white supremacists and white nationalists since 2001. Clicking on the red dot gives the user information about the attack and the number of people killed.