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Incel forum promotes rape and mass murder

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

The report, from the Center for Countering Digital Hate’s new Quant Lab, is the culmination of research that analyzed more than 1 million posts on the site. It found a marked increase in talk of mass murder and a growing approval of sexually assaulting pre-teen 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 the report says is visited by 2.6 million people each month. “These companies should make a principled decision to remove their services from sites that cause such significant harm,” the report says.

“This is a new and novel violent extremist movement born in the internet age, challenging the usual characteristics of violent extremist movements that law enforcement and the intelligence community are often used to,” said Imran Ahmed, founder and executive director of CCHR, a US non-profit agency. “Our study shows that he is organized, has a compelling ideology and has clearly concluded that raping women, killing women and raping children is a clear part of the practice of his ideology.”

Incels blames women for his failures in life. The term originated decades ago, and although the first incel forum was founded by a woman in the mid-1990s, incel communities have since become almost exclusively male. incel ideology has been linked to dozens of murders and assaults in the past decade, most notably involving Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old self-described incel who murdered six people in a stabbing-and-shooting rampage in Santa Barbara, California, in 2014. Before committing suicide, published a lengthy manifesto and YouTube videos promoting the incel ideology.

In March, the US Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center. published a report warning that violence against women was a growing terrorist threat.

According to CCHR’s analysis, forum members post about rape every 29 minutes, and more than 89 percent of those posting support rape and say it’s acceptable. CCHR’s analysis also found that the posters in the forum seek to normalize child rape. More than a quarter of forum members have posted pedophilia keywords, the analysis found, 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 the rape of younger victims, according to the report. The forum previously implored users not to “sexualize minors in any way, shape or form,” but in March changed that language to “do not sexualize minor preteens in any way, shape or form.”

The report also cited content that reflected the trend toward pedophilia, noting that most commenters expressed support for a post that said, “As an incel, there is literally no reason to be against pedophilia.” Another thread started by a regular user who had posted over 7,000 times on the forum contained an image of a 12-year-old boy with the comment “Who in his right mind would prefer a 22-year-old?” [woman] to this?”

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

CCHR said its analysis also found a growing interest in mass murder on the site. Posts mentioning incel mass murders increased 59 percent between 2021 and 2022, according to the study, and praise was common for Elliot Rodger. The word “kill” was mentioned 1,181 times on the forum in just one month, which works out to once every 37 minutes. “Shoot” and “kill” are also popular words on the forum.

“After conducting this study, we have no doubt that this community of angry, belligerent, unapologetic men are dangerous to each other, with evil social dynamics where they push each other to worse and worse extremes,” he says. The report. “Unchecked incel communities have the potential to become even more radicalized.”

HRC said it is making its entire forum database available to law enforcement and has briefed counterterrorism officials in the US and UK about the report’s findings.

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

Only self-declared heterosexual men can post on the forum; Women and members of the LGBTQ community are prohibited from speaking out.

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

Forum members, according to the report, often share content from misogynistic YouTube channels and channels like Incel TV, which promotes incel ideology. Another popular YouTube channel mentioned in the forum, according to the report, is SlutHate Creeps, where users post covertly recorded images of women.

“We remove content that targets or threatens individuals or groups based on protected attributes. Following the review, we removed and age-restricted several videos that CCHR showed for violating our Community Guidelines,” YouTube spokesman Jack Malon said in a statement.

YouTube isn’t the only incursion, the analysis found. Galante and Small have created a network of seemingly more conventional websites that funnel people to the incel forum. Google searches for body image or unemployment frequently return links to these “incelosphere” sites, CCHR found.

Teenagers are among the most active and extreme users of the forum, according to CCHR. In one case, a boy who said he was 17 was recorded to have been on the forum an average of 10 hours per day during the reporting period, posting an average of 40 times per day, according to the report. Another, who claimed to be 15, spent an average of five hours a day on the site, repeatedly posting about wanting him to commit a mass shooting.

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

The report criticizes Cloudflare, an Internet service company that services the forum and other Galante and Small sites. Cloudflare recently took down Kiwi Farms, a forum where users coordinated harassment campaigns against women and members of the LGBTQ community, after an outcry was launched targeting its major customers. “Cloudflare is benefiting from its role as the infrastructure provider for all four incelosphere forums and has been praised by the official incel forum Twitter account,” the report says.

CCDH urged government regulators to also find ways to combat incel ideology and restrict the site. “This should not be left to the big tech companies, who profit from the creation and dissemination of this content and are not properly incentivized or required to be proactively transparent on key metrics or invest in desired security outcomes. ”, says the report. He says.

“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 continually being developed by readers themselves. If left alone, this community has become even more radicalized and its ideology becomes more dangerous every day.”

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

correction

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the Center for Countering Digital Hate is British. It is based in the United States. The article has been corrected.

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