The Brief: Echoes - sets of three parentheses added around a word - are an Antisemitic symbol used online to mark people, organizations, and concepts as Jewish.
Also known as a “coincidence detector” an echo is a set of three parentheses added to each side of a word. By marking people and certain words as Jewish, white supremacists, Neo-Nazis, and members of the Alt-Right can more easily target Jews for trolling, doxing, and other online attacks. The language “coincidence detector” suggests that the parentheses reveal “evidence” for Antisemitic conspiracy theories that media and politics are controlled by a Jewish elite who seek to undermine the power of white Christians.
This trend began after an Antisemitic podcast used an echo sound effect around Jewish names. This echo was translated to text in the form of three parentheses on each side of a word. The Anti-Defamation League categorizes (((echoes))) as a hate symbol.
The use of echoes by members of the far-right increased during the 2016 presidential election. In particular, members of the far-right used them to flag and target Jewish journalists, organizations, and public figures.
In response to the use of echoes by Antisemitic individuals and groups, a counter-movement began in which people added parentheses around their own names to subvert the power of echoes. People sought to render echoes meaningless, showing solidarity for Jews who were targeted while confusing members of the far-right.
In 2016, someone created a coincidence detector Google Chrome plugin. It used a database of specific Jewish individuals and Jewish surnames to add echoes around their names, thus highlighting Jewish names on the web and perpetuating Antisemitic conspiracy theories. The plugin also highlighted the names of people and groups who were against white-supremacy or who advocated for civil liberties. Journalist Jonathan Weisman of The New York Times published a piece about the extremely Antisemitic harassment he faced after his name was marked by the conscience detector plugin. Five months after its release, Google removed the coincidence detector plugin for violating its hate speech policy.