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Counter terrorism ـ More Neo-Nazi Channels Discovered Using Advertisements On Telegram

May 15, 2024 | Studies & Reports

European Centre for Counterterrorism and Intelligence Studies, Germany & Netherlands – ECCI

Extremist Content Online: More Neo-Nazi And Antisemitic Channels Discovered Using Advertisements On Telegram To Collect Revenue

(New York, N.Y.) — The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) reports weekly on the methods used by extremists and terrorist groups on the Internet to spread propaganda and incite violence. Last week, CEP researchers discovered revenue-collecting advertisements on several neo-Nazi and antisemitic Telegram channels, including a channel that supports Active Clubs and Patriot Front. Ads promoted cryptocurrency and betting and included a link to a Qanon channel.

Additionally, on May 6, an Active Club chapter in Southern California announced on its Telegram channel that it had expelled a Mid-Atlantic chapter due to its leader’s past cooperation with authorities.

Also, last week, CEP researchers located issue 35 of the pro-ISIS web magazine Voice of Khorasan. The May 7 edition encouraged attacks in Europe, condemned the Taliban for allegedly not implementing religious law, and continued to provide tips on operations security.

Advertisements Found on More Neo-Nazi and Antisemitic Telegram Channels

CEP researchers continued to find neo-Nazi and antisemitic Telegram channels with advertisements enabled the week of May 5 to May 11, one week after previously locating an ad on the main Telegram channel of the French white supremacist Active Club chapter. CEP located advertisements on four channels: a prominent neo-Nazi channel with over 22,000 followers that supports groups such as Active Clubs and Patriot Front and has had at least one prior iteration of the channel removed from the platform; a neo-Nazi channel with over 12,700 followers that focuses on operations security; an extreme right antisemitic channel with over 91,800 subscribers; and an antisemitic white supremacist channel with over 31,600 followers. Advertisements were for Telegram channels that advertised news, cryptocurrency, betting, and a QAnon channel.

On March 31, Telegram began an advertising program with administrators that shares “50% of the revenue from ads displayed in their channels.” It is unclear how much money administrators of the five channels with ads enabled have made since CEP found them.

“Extremist groups and propagandists should not be able to collect ad revenue on Telegram. The platform needs to take immediate action to prevent these channels from raising funds,” said CEP researcher Joshua Fisher-Birch. “It is completely unconscionable that Telegram accounts that seek to recruit for or otherwise promote or assist white supremacist movements have been able to monetize their channels. It is worth noting that the five channels CEP has located do not hide their affiliations, leading to questions about whether Telegram has any moderation efforts in relation to ad features.”

An advertisement for a Qanon channel on a prominent neo-Nazi Telegram channel with over 22,000 subscribers. Please note that the neo-Nazi channel has previously denounced Qanon. The ad was likely either not chosen or was accepted due to financial opportunity rather than ideology. Screenshot taken on May 9.

Active Club Movement Banishes East Coast Chapter

On May 6, an Active Club chapter in Southern California, via their Telegram channel, banished a chapter of the movement from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, stating that the latter group was led by an individual who testified against a fellow white supremacist and at one point had been an anti-fascist activist. The post stated that “Working with the system is one of the unforgivable crimes against our efforts” and that the Mid-Atlantic region chapter would no longer be recognized as part of the movement, stating that group members should join a different Pennsylvania club. The main Active Club Telegram channel shared the message.

The Mid-Atlantic Active Club chapter stated on their Telegram channel that the leader in question was no longer a member and that they were closely linked to local White Lives Matter (WLM) activity. On May 8, the main WLM Telegram channel, which has over 20,000 followers, also announced that they had banished the individual in question.

Voice of Khorasan Issue 35 Released

On May 7, the pro-ISIS al-Azaim Media propaganda group released issue 35 of the English language web magazine Voice of Khorasan. The web magazine included a wallet for sending the privacy cryptocurrency Monero and posted an image encouraging terrorist attacks on soccer stadiums in the German cities of Berlin, Munich, and Dortmund.

The first article condemned the Taliban for not implementing religious law, scrutinizing punishments that the author described as human-made and not religiously mandated. Other articles described the confrontation between Israel and Iran as a fight between siblings, condemned the Syrian group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), and encouraged abandoning comfort. Issue 35 also contained the third part in a series on operations security, providing tips for traveling and encouraging total obedience to ISIS leaders and ISIS-endorsed individuals.

Infographics in the web magazine condemned countries that have opened diplomatic or economic relations with the Taliban, specifically criticized the Taliban for their connection to China despite the latter’s persecution of Uyghur Muslims, and called for readers to fight.

CEP reported four uploads of the web magazine to the Internet Archive, which quickly removed them.

European Centre for Counterterrorism and Intelligence Studies, Germany & Netherlands – ECCI

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