White supremacists openly organize racist violence on Telegram, report finds

On June 5, a car full of White supremacists drove through the streets of Knoxville, Tennessee, harassing and abusing people attending a Black Lives Matter protest. One of those in the car shouted to a group of protesters: “You wanna die? Come on in. 9mm with your name on it.” 

The occupants of the car recorded several videos as they went, videos that were later uploaded to the encrypted messaging app Telegram. One of the channels they used was The Fascist Group Esoteric Anti Root Collective, one of more than 200 White supremacist Telegram groups that have become much more active in the midst of protests across the United States, according to CNN analysis. 

According to a new report by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), shared exclusively with CNN, these channels have thousands of members. The ISD, a London-based think tank studying extremism, says they include frequent and explicit threats of violence against minority communities and BLM protesters, threats that in some cases have translated into violence. 

In May, the White supremacist group Rise Above Movement launched its own Telegram channel, which, according to the Countering Extremism Project, features antisemitism and anti-migration themes. 

White supremacists have migrated to Telegram because it’s less active in moderating content than other social media networks, according to ISD and other researchers. The channels share everything from manuals on how to manufacture 3D guns to praise for mass killers. 

A Telegram spokesperson told CNN via e-mail: “Telegram is a neutral platform used both by Black Lives Matter and their opponents, as well as by thousands of other political movements around the globe. Our mission is to support privacy, free speech and peaceful exchange of ideas. Calls to violence are not welcome on our platform. 

“Telegram allows users to report public calls for violence. Our moderators routinely take down posts violating our Terms of Use, and block channels that are made up entirely of such posts. 

“Users who encounter calls to violence on Telegram are advised to report them using the in-app reporting button or to abuse@telegram.org.”

Source: ktvz