Andrew Anglin, who runs the infamous neo-Nazi blog called “Daily Stormer,” is encouraging his fellow white supremacist and anti-Semitic activists to flee their online homes on chat servers popular with gamers in favor of an end-to-end encryption chat service called Telegram.
In a post published this morning, Anglin asserted that Discord, a chat service widely used in the gaming community that served as a safe space for alt-right extremists to organize, “is potentially very dangerous.”
“I think we should all stop using it,” Anglin wrote. “Immediately.”
Anglin went on to note that the Daily Stormer’s own Discord room was removed after the violent white nationalist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year, and claimed that he personally stopped using Discord soon afterward.
The post also mentions an article written by Kelly Weill at The Daily Beast, who reported that Discord was partnering with the Southern Poverty Law Center to root out hate groups using the service and that independent media houses, primarily the Unicorn Riot media collective, had begun publishing data ripped from alt-right Discord servers. Anglin expressed worry over Unicorn Riot’s claims that they have between 50 and 60 more leaked chat logs to publish.
Anglin has urged his fellow right-wing extremists to install virtual private networks (VPNs) on their devices and then move their conversations over to Telegram, which is an end-to-end encrypted communication app.
Telegram did not respond to Right Wing Watch’s request for comment.
Telegram is one of many popular messaging apps developed for users who seek to communicate with the extra privacy and security that end-to-end encryption can provide. The app has been used by people who want to freely express themselves against oppressive governments, but it has also served as a space for extremist groups to secretly organize.
Last year, Nick Robins-Early reported in HuffPost that Telegram has become “one of ISIS’s primary means for disseminating information and bringing together supporters.” Shortly after a terror attack in Manchester, England, where a suicide bomber killed 22 people leaving an Ariana Grande concert, ISIS supporters reportedly “flooded the app’s private and public channels with celebratory messages.” Robins-Early reported:
The rise of Telegram as a part of ISIS and other terrorist groups’ communication strategy in recent years has shown how extremists adapt to technology in the face of attempts to shut down their online presence. ISIS has long used social media platforms to spread its propaganda and recruit followers, and Weimann explains that in general terror groups are early adopters of new online platforms and services they can exploit.
Alt-right extremists have been repeatedly booted from standard platforms online and widely believe they are the victims of digital exile. Last year, Twitter took actions to weed out extremists on its platform, and YouTube has also taken steps it hopes will curb the spread of radical content on its own site. Daily Stormer, specifically, struggled to find a domain that would host its toxic site. Meanwhile, the notorious white supremacist forum board Stormfront is on the verge of shutting down for financial reasons.