HomeTechnologyInternetIncel forum pushes rape, mass murder

Incel forum pushes rape, mass murder

The most prominent forum for men who consider themselves involuntarily celibate or “incels” has become significantly more radical in the past year and a half, seeking to normalize child rape, a new report says.

The report, from the Center for Countering Digital Hate’s new Quant Lab, is the result of a study that analyzed more than 1 million posts on the site. It found a marked spike in conversations about mass murder and growing approval of sexually abusive prepubescent girls.

The report also says that platforms such as YouTube and Google, as well as internet infrastructure companies such as Cloudflare, are facilitating the growth of the forum, which is visited by 2.6 million people each month, according to the report. “These companies should make a principled decision to withdraw their services from sites that cause such significant damage,” the report says.

“This is a new, new violent extremist movement born in the internet age that defies the usual features of violent extremist movements that law enforcement and the intelligence community are usually accustomed to,” said Imran Ahmed, founder and CEO of CCDH, a British non-profit. . “Our study shows that it is organized, has a compelling ideology and has clearly concluded that raping women, murdering women and raping children is a clear part of the practice of their ideology.”

Incels blames women for their shortcomings in life. The term originated decades ago, and while the first incel forum was founded by a woman in the mid-1990s, incel communities have since become almost exclusively male. Incel ideology is linked to dozens of murders and assaults over the past decade, the most prominent involving Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old who described himself incel who killed six people in a 2014 Santa Barbara, California, stabbing and shooting spree. Before committing suicide, he posted a lengthy manifesto and YouTube videos promoting the incel ideology.

In March, the US Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center released a report warned that violence against women was a growing terrorist threat.

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According to the CCDH analysis, forum members post about rape every 29 minutes, and more than 89 percent of posters support rape and say it’s acceptable. The CCDH analysis also found that posters on the forum are trying to normalize child rape. More than a quarter of forum members have posted pedophilia keywords, the analysis shows, and more than half of forum members support pedophilia.

The forum also changed its rules this year to accommodate what appears to be a trend toward normalizing rape of younger victims, the report said. The forum previously pleaded with users not to “sexualize minors in any way, shape or form,” but changed that language in March to “not sexualize prepubescent minors in any way, shape, or form.”

The report also cited content reflecting the trend toward pedophilia, noting that a majority of commenters expressed support for a post that read, “As an incel, there is literally no reason to be against pedophilia.” Another thread, started by a regular user who had posted more than 7,000 times on the forum, featured an image of a 12-year-old child with the comment “who in his right mind prefers a 22-year-old [woman] to this?”

“Analysis of their discourse shows that this core group poses a clear and current danger to women and other young men, and reveals an emerging threat to our children,” the report says.

CCDH said its analysis had also found an increasing interest in mass murder at the site. Reports reporting mass murders in cell rose 59 percent between 2021 and 2022, the study said, and praise was common for Elliot Rodger. The word “kill” was mentioned 1181 times on the forum in just one month, which equates to once every 37 minutes. “Shoot” and “murder” are also popular words on the forum.

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“After conducting this research, we have no doubt that this community of angry, combative and insolent men is dangerous to each other, with an evil social dynamic where they encourage each other to ever-worse extremes,” the report said. “Unchecked, incel communities have the potential to radicalize further.”

The CCDH said it is making its full database of the forum available to law enforcement officials and has informed counterterrorism officials in the US and UK of the report’s findings.

The forum was founded in 2017 by Diego Joaquín Galante, known online as “Sergeant Incel” and Lamarcus Small in response to Reddit banning the /r/incels subreddit. It offers an invite-only Discord server for its members who have posted more than 400 times to the site, and an active channel on the Telegram chat app. Forum moderators also maintain a Twitter account promoting incel’s ideology and attacking alleged critics.

Only self-proclaimed heterosexual men are allowed to post on the forum; women and members of the LGBTQ community should not be taken into account.

The report says the forum has gained a massive audience, largely through social media, especially YouTube, where videos promoting the incel ideology have reportedly been viewed a total of 24.2 million times. “YouTube is an important part of incel education,” Ahmed said.

Forum members, the report said, often share content from misogynistic YouTube channels and channels such as Incel TV, which promotes the incel ideology. Another popular YouTube channel mentioned on the forum, the report said, is SlutHate Creeps, where users secretly post recorded images of women.

But YouTube is not the only entrance, the analysis shows. Galante and Small have created a network of seemingly more mainstream websites directing people to the incel forum. Google searches for body image or unemployment often return links to these “incelosphere” sites, the CCDH found.

According to the CCDH, teenage boys are among the most active and extreme users of the forum. In one case, a boy who said he was 17 was posted to the forum for an average of 10 hours a day over the period of the report, posting an average of 40 times a day, the report said. Another, who claimed to be 15, spent an average of five hours a day on the site, posting repeatedly about his desire to commit a mass shooting.

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The forum enables their participation, the analysis said, by encouraging users to hide the site from curious parents or teachers by using a feature that disguises it as a banana marketing website.

The report criticizes Cloudflare, an internet services company that provides services to the forum and other Galante and Small sites. cloudflare recently dropped Kiwi Farms, a forum where users coordinated harassment campaigns against women and members of the LGBTQ community after a protest was launched against mainstream customers. “Cloudflare is taking advantage of its role as an infrastructure provider for all four incelosphere forums and is being praised by the incel forum’s official Twitter account,” the report said.

The CCDH urged government regulators to also find ways to combat the cell’s ideology and restrict the site. “This should not be left to the goodwill of Big Tech, who benefit from the creation and dissemination of this content and not be properly incentivized or required to be proactively transparent about key metrics or to invest in the desired safety outcomes the report said. say.

“This forum is a violent ideological manifesto, but for the 21st century,” Ahmed said. “Instead of being a book, it is essentially a wiki that is constantly being developed by the readers themselves. Left alone, this community has further radicalized and their ideology becomes more dangerous by the day.”

This story will be updated with commentary as it becomes available.

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