Instagram  is becoming the social media platform of choice for neo-Nazi recruitment, campaigners have warned.

Analysis by the group Hope Not Hate found far-Right groups, members of whom have been linked to terror investigations, have migrated their propaganda operations on to social media as the pandemic has nixed more traditional recruitment efforts.

The charity claimed Instagram’s “inadequate” policing of its site and automated content recommendations were enabling neo-Nazis to reach a wide audience.

In a report, the group identified two far-Right groups active in the UK, the British Hand and the National Partisan Movement, who have used Instagram to recruit members, while using other messaging apps, such as Telegram, to communicate with each other.

Three alleged members of the British Hand, who are all teenage boys, are facing trial on terrorism charges.

The annual “State of Hate” report published today found the Covid-19 pandemic has sped up the move of the British far-Right from streets to online.

It said older, traditional groups have been left behind by a younger, digital generation who exploit technology to promote their ideology through gaming, social media voice chats, online film clubs and even home-schooling.

Nick Lowles, Hope not Hate chief executive, said: “Though we continue to warn about niche platforms like Telegram, a fertile recruitment ground for young neo-Nazis has been Instagram – its inadequate moderation and worrying algorithm recommendations are child protection issues that demand urgent action from the platform.”

Facebook, which owns Instagram, said it had removed a number of pages belonging to the British Hand and National Partisan Movement before the report was published. A spokesman for the company said: “We’ve banned over 250 white supremacist organisations from Facebook and Instagram, and will continue removing content that praises, supports or represents these groups. That includes content containing swastikas and other hate symbols.”

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