After expelling supporters of former US President Donald Trump, who followed conspiracy theories and the hypothesis of white supremacy from the major online platforms in the United States, they reverted to more secret networks that are difficult to control. And Telegram, a messaging app, and a discord chatting app for gamers.
Nick Bakovitch, a researcher at Logicly AI, a company that specializes in disinformation on the Internet, explained that the most extreme supporters of Trump had basically a firm presence on alternative platforms, adding that Facebook and Twitter were very slow to move, and this is what allowed Influencers rebuild their audiences almost continuously without interruption.
After hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the Congress building and the riots that accompanied the attack on January 6 in Washington, the main social networks took measures against groups that organized the movement, such as the “Authentic Keepers”, “Three People” and “The Broad Boys”, as they intensified Facebook purges against armed groups, which led to the exclusion of about 900 of them, while Twitter permanently banned the former president and canceled seventy thousand accounts related to the “Q-Annon” movement, whose followers assert that Trump will save the world from the corrupt elites and pedophiles. “This is a strategy that yields results,” said Jim Steer, president of the Common Sense Media Association. Millions of extremists and believers with varying degrees of conspiracy theories are still steadfast and refuse to surrender, according to experts who fear that censorship will lead to unification between individuals with very different apparently different orientations.
“In the ranks of Keio Anun, you find armed activists, traditional Republicans, housewives and the yoga teacher whose lessons you are pursuing, people who were still at a distance from Nazi groups or theorists,” said Alex Goldenberg of the Research Institute, the Network Contribution Research Institute, which also specializes in disinformation on the Internet. White supremacist, but now they are starting to blend into the same groups, they have nowhere else to go. ”
Those excluded from social media are gathering under other flags, most notably the anti-vaccination movement. Groups of tens of thousands of Trump supporters on the encrypted Telegram app have been circulating false rumors of vaccines to reduce the population, between insults directed at President Joe Biden and attacks on immigrants. But if the exclusion from major social media has limited the ability of extremist movements to recruit followers on a large scale, the fire is still burning under the ashes, then at the end of January, a group of protesters cut off vaccinations against Covid-19 at a sports stadium in Los Angeles. It is one of the largest vaccination sites in the United States. The necessity to impose regulations governing the operation of alternative communication networks collides with ethical and practical obstacles, and a heated debate is taking place in the United States about the limits of freedom of expression.
In the wake of the attack on the Capitol, Google, Apple and Amazon blocked Parler, Facebook’s equivalent to conservatives, from their platforms for violating laws censoring violent content, and it did not return to the Internet until mid-February.
The Facebook-like networks of Gap and Moyi also increased in popularity in the wake of the events of January 6.
Alex Goldenberg said they are especially popular with users who need to express their frustration. “There was no pandemic in 2020. Influenza was used to destroy the economy and steal the elections,” from Donald Trump, a missed user known as “I Love Jesus Christ 123” confirmed in a comment to the former president’s statement circulated online.
“These movements are like pollution. They gained influence and power because they were active freely on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube,” said Emerson Broking, an expert on extremist movements and disinformation at the “Atlantic Council” for Studies. John Farmer of the Network Contention Research Institute called for government intervention as well, saying, “They should deal with networks as they do with water and electricity, as they are a legal public good.”
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