According to the study, the Telegram online service acts as a «radicalization spiral»

The online network Telegram in particular is a pillar of the right-wing extremist scene and an important part of their radicalization strategies, according to the report by the extremism researchers of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue Germany (ISD Germany), which was submitted in advance to the newspapers of the Funke media group (Friday editions).

In order not to be blocked from established platforms such as YouTube or Facebook , the extremists there would forego openly right-wing extremist content, said the co-author of the studies Christian Schwieter, the newspapers. Instead, they would refer to their Telegram channels there. These have harmless names like “flood relief” or “flood disaster”. There, however, “extremely antisemitic and right-wing extremist content” would then be disseminated.

It is a "strategic spiral of radicalization," said Schwieter. And it is a strategy that has been "fueled" by the introduction of the Network Enforcement Act.

For the analysis «pillars Telegram. As right-wing extremists and Conspiracy ideologues: Remove inside on Telegram their infrastructure" («Stützpfeiler Telegram. Wie Rechtsextreme und Verschwörungsideolog:innen auf Telegram ihre Infrastruktur ausbauen») has spark Newspapers both the ISD Germany, according to the Chat - News evaluated and links about texts, videos and photos from nearly 240 public Telegram channels. Telegram is the central reservoir that connects other platforms such as Twitch, Dlive or Bitchute, according to the study.

On these alternative platforms, state-prescribed deletion and reporting obligations of the Network Enforcement Act would often not apply, so that extremist and antisemitic content could be disseminated, said Schwieter. So-called “power users” are central to this; they are able to bind a large number of followers and move them to new platforms.

The conspiracy ideologist Attila Hildmann is such a “power user”, as is Martin Sellner, the head of the so-called “Identitarian Movement”. Should the Telegram pillar break away, alternatives would arise, but it would be "extremely difficult" and time-consuming to rebuild the old networks, Schwieter told the Funke newspapers.

It is important that the network enforcement law is consistently applied by the authorities, said study author Schwieter. So far, this has been difficult both with Telegram and with alternative platforms, since Germany cannot build up enough pressure. At the European level, however, according to Schiweter, the current legislative process for the regulation of digital services, the so-called Digital Services Act, offers the possibility of making platforms more accountable.

Source: isdglobal