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“A lot of times you see people who oppose the hate speech taking over the (hate) groups. That tends to be more effective than taking the page down.”

The Czech Republic’s counterintelligence service called the Internet the “No. 1” propaganda tool for extremists in their terrorism report last year.

“There is a significant increase in activities of far right extremists in social networking sites, especially on Facebook. In connection with that, a relatively new phenomenon has appeared of groups which are joined, besides the extremists, also by common citizens … As a result, the extremist views are becoming popular and spread among the public.”

Germany viewed the threat in a similar way.

“The use of the Internet has become a fixture for German right-wing extremists in spreading their ideology, preparing their activities, campaigns and other events as well as the communication with their followers and sympathizers,” Germany’s domestic intelligence agency said in its latest report published earlier this month.

Lennon, meanwhile, may find himself spending even more time in the virtual far-right world. The 28-year-old newlywed with a handful of missing teeth is banned from going anywhere near protests. He also claims to have had his assets frozen pending a police investigation.

Despite the setbacks, Lennon said his group is growing _ and even moving beyond the need for social media.

“We’ll keep talking to people about what the EDL stands for, but we don’t actually need places like Facebook anymore. We’ve already built our network and it’s growing.”

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Also contributing to this report were Barbara Ortutay in New York, in Gabriele Steinhauser in Brussels, Karel Janicek in Prague, Juergen Baetz in Berlin and Sylvia Hui in London.