QAnon Telegram power vacuum exploited by anti-Semitic extremists, ADL says


Power vacuum in QAnon Telegram community being exploited by extremists and conspirators, new report says report of ADL.

GhostEzra is one of the most popular QAnon channels on Telegram. From January through August, the account garnered over 300,000 subscribers and posted a wide array of COVID-19 plots and anti-Semitic memes; published personal information of Jewish executives and CEOs; and often encouraged violence. In August, Logically.AI data company logged in on The character of GhostEzra from Robert Randall Smart from Boca Raton, Florida.

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An example of content allegedly posted by GhostEzra on Telegram.

Telegram


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An example of content allegedly posted by GhostEzra on Telegram.

Telegram


Although Smart is no longer updated frequently, the channel remains one of the largest QAnon forums on the network. Posts generate hundreds, sometimes thousands of comments.

“GhostEzra is easily the biggest pro-Hitler voice on Telegram and the biggest QAnon influencer on the platform,” said Aryeh Tuchman, senior researcher at ADL’s Center on Extremism. “Telegram has become a preferred platform for QAnon because it allows QAnon executives to create channels that they directly control, without fear of moderation from platform administrators.”

Telegram did not respond to multiple requests for comment. CBS News could not reach Smart for comment.

Most QAnon personas have no more than a few thousand followers. The largest neo-Nazi channels have fewer than 10,000. GhostEzra’s first Telegram post was on January 10, two days after being banned from Twitter. Within days, the account began posting blatantly racist content, and its follower count eclipsed Twitter.


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Accounts advancing conspiracy theories are proliferating in the messaging service, as extremists can use the service without fear of misrepresenting themselves, said Mike Rothschild, author from “The Storm Is Upon Us: How QAnon Became A Theory of Movement, Worship, and Conspiracy of Everything.”

“Telegram emerged as a useful alternative to traditional social media because of its lack of moderation and because it was already being used as a secure messaging app by extremists here and in other countries,” Rothschild explained. “Telegram has channels where the promoters aired conspiracy theories and talks where fans can interact, and it has virtually no terms of service to violate. The door was already open for them and smaller, more extreme bands. were waiting. ”

This creates an environment conducive to exploitation, Rothschild said. “The QAnon plot will evolve and extremists will be on Telegram waiting for them.”



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