Internet celebrities to
Telegram and alternative
Media Studies, University of Amsterdam
Extreme, anti-establishment actors are being characterized increasingly as ‘dangerous
individuals’ by the social media platforms that once aided in making them into ‘Internet
celebrities’. These individuals (and sometimes groups) are being ‘deplatformed’ by the
leading social media companies such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube for
such offences as ‘organised hate’. Deplatforming has prompted debate about ‘liberal big
tech’ silencing free speech and taking on the role of editors, but also about the questions
of whether it is effective and for whom. The research reported here follows certain of
these Internet celebrities to Telegram as well as to a larger alternative social media
ecology. It enquires empirically into some of the arguments made concerning whether
deplatforming ‘works’ and how the deplatformed use Telegram. It discusses the effects of
deplatforming for extreme Internet celebrities, alternative and mainstream social media
platforms and the Internet at large. It also touches upon how social media companies’
deplatforming is affecting critical social media research, both into the substance of
extreme speech as well as its audiences on mainstream as well as alternative platforms.
Deplatforming, Social Media, Digital Methods, Telegram, Extreme Speech
Richard Rogers, Media Studies, University of Amsterdam, Turfdraagsterpad 9, 1012 XT Amsterdam, the
European Journal of Communication
!The Author(s) 2020
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Introduction: Deplatforming on social media
Deplatforming, or the removal of one’s account on social media for breaking
platform rules, has recently been on the rise. It is gaining attention as an antidote
to the so-called toxicity of online communities and the mainstreaming of extreme
speech, or “vitriolic exchange on Internet-enabled media” that “push the bound-
aries of acceptable norms of public culture” (Pohjonen and Udupa, 2017). It is also
stirring a discussion about the ‘liberal bias’ of US tech giants implementing the
bans (Bilton, 2019; Mulhall, 2019). In the past few years, Facebook, Instagram,
YouTube, Twitter and other platforms have all suspended and removed a variety
of individuals and groups, comprising, according to one accounting, ‘white nation-
alists’, ‘anti-semites’, ‘alt-right’ adherents, ‘neo-nazis’, ‘hate groups’ and others
(Kraus, 2018). Many of those who have been deplatformed are on the far right
of the ideological spectrum, and certain of them could be described as extreme
Internet celebrities, such as Milo Yiannopoulos and Alex Jones, whose removals
have had a signiﬁcant impact on their visibility, the maintenance of their fan bases
and the ﬂow of their income streams. Yiannopoulos has claimed to have become
bankrupt by deplatforming, which has included cancellations of a book deal and
college campus appearances (Beauchamp, 2018; Maurice, 2019). Jones has seen the
view counts and seemingly the impact of his posts and videos decline (Wong,
Deplatformings have been widely reported in the tech news and beyond
(Martineau, 2019). When Yiannopoulos, Jones, Laura Loomer and Paul Joseph
Watson were removed from Facebook and Instagram in 2019 for being ‘dangerous
individuals’ engaged or involved in ‘organised hate’ and/or ‘organized violence’
(Facebook, 2019), it drew widespread reaction, including the story of how
Facebook announced the ban some hours prior to its implementation, allowing
the deplatformed individuals to post notices on their pages, redirecting their audi-
ence to other platforms (Martineau, 2019). Laura Loomer, for one, announced her
Telegram channel; Alex Jones pointed to his websites. The migration from main-
stream to alternative social media platforms was underway.
At the same time, protests from these individuals and their followers have been
staged on the platforms that have removed them. Loomer, the ‘white nationalist’
banned from Twitter for a ‘racist attack’ on a Muslim US congresswoman, hand-
cuffed herself to the front door of the corporation’s ofﬁce in New York city,
livestreaming her plight and her views on the suppression of ‘conservative’ view-
points on a supporter’s Periscope account (itself a Twitter service). Having been
banned, other users switched to platforms friendly to their politics, such as Gab, a
Twitter alternative that upvotes and downvotes posts like Reddit. It has become
known as a ‘haven for white supremacists’ and for its defence of free speech
(Ohlheiser and Shapira, 2018; Zannettou et al., 2018). It also positions itself as
distinct from the ‘left-leaning Big Social monopoly’ (Coaston, 2018).
When deplatformed social media celebrities migrate to alternative platforms,
these sites are given a boost through media attention and increases in user counts.
2European Journal of Communication 0(0)
Milo Yiannopoulos initially turned to Gab after his account was removed on
Twitter (Benson, 2016), and around the same time Alex Jones joined it ‘with
great fanfare’ (Ohlheiser, 2016). Indeed, when Twitter conducted a so-called
‘purge’ of alt-right accounts in 2016, Gab gained tens of thousands of users in a
short time. It is continually described as a favoured platform of expression for
extremism, including for the shooter in the Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018 who
announced his intended acts there (Nguyen, 2018). Gab drew over a million
hits, after it became known that a mass shooter posted his manifesto there
But mainstream social media drives more trafﬁc to extreme content than alter-
native social media platforms or other websites, at least in the case when Alex Jones
was banned from Facebook and YouTube, as mentioned earlier. His InfoWars
posts, now only available on his websites (and a sprinkling of alternative social
media platforms, as we come to), saw a decline in trafﬁc by one-half (Nicas, 2018).
When deplatforming leads to such declines in attention, questions arise about its
effectiveness. Is it indeed a viable means to detoxify mainstream social media and
the Internet more broadly, and/or does it prompt the individuals to migrate to other
platforms with more welcoming and ‘oxygen-giving’ extreme publics?
Effectiveness of deplatforming
There has been some scholarly attention paid to the effectiveness of shutting down
particularly offensive online communities, such as the subreddits r/fatpeoplehate
and r/coontown, banned by Reddit in 2015 for violating its harassment policies. It
was found that the shutdowns worked, in that a proportion of offending users
appeared to leave the platform (for Voat, an alternative to Reddit), and the sub-
reddits that inherited those migrating from those spaces did not see a signiﬁcant
increase in extreme speech (Chandrasekharan et al., 2017). Indeed, the closing of
those communities was beneﬁcial for Reddit, but less research has been performed
about the effectiveness of the ban for the health of social media or the Internet at
large. The Reddit study’s authors reported that not only did Reddit make these
users ‘someone else’s problem’, but also perhaps pushed them to ‘darker corners of
the Internet’ (Chandrasekharan et al., 2017).
The debate concerning the effectiveness of deplatforming has arguments lined
up on both sides. For those arguing that it does not work, deplatforming is said to
draw attention to suppressed materials (Streisand effect), harden the conviction of
the followers, and put social media companies in the position of an arbiter of
speech. For those arguing that deplatforming is effective, it is said that it detoxes
both subspaces (such as subreddits) as well as platforms more generally, produces
a decline in audience and drives extreme voices to spaces that have less oxygen-
giving capacity, thereby containing their impact. The Reddit study indeed found
that both the subreddits and the platform more generally saw a decline in the type
of harassment found on r/fatpeoplehate and r/coontown, but less is known about
the alternative platforms to which extreme users may turn.
Telegram as ‘dark corner of the Internet’
Apart from Gab and perhaps Voat (to which deplatformed Pizzagate, incel and
QAnon subreddit users are said to have migrated), Telegram is another of those so-
called darker corners of the Internet (Wikipedia Contributors, 2019). It is an
instant messaging app, founded in 2013 by the same Internet entrepreneurs who
launched VKontakte, the social media platform popular in Russia. Telegram has a
reputation, whether or not well-founded, for highly secure messaging, having noto-
riously been listed by ISIS as ‘safe’ and having themselves championed privacy
upon its founding that coincided with the US state spying revelations by Edward
Snowden (Weimann, 2016). Indeed, the founders started Telegram so communi-
cations could not be monitored by governments, including the Russian authorities,
who pursued the founder on charges of tax avoidance until he ﬂed the country
(Cook, 2018). The Russian state later accused Telegram of enabling terrorists
because it would not turn over users’ encrypted messages, leading to a ban of
the application in Russia. The founders, and their programming team, are them-
selves self-exemplary of privacy-enablers, for they require secure communication,
and have moved from location to location to elude what the founder calls ‘unnec-
essary inﬂuence’ (Thornhill, 2015). As I come to, encrypted communication is one
affordance that makes Telegram attractive to certain user groups.
How does Telegram appeal to its users, including those who have been deplat-
formed for violating platform rules? Telegram not only has the reputation but also
the affordances that would be attractive to those seeking something similar to
‘social privacy’, or the capacity to retain control over what is known about oneself
while still participating (and becoming popular) on social media (Raynes-Goldie,
2010). On platforms such as Facebook, such a user is public-facing at the outset,
and subsequently, makes deft use of aliases, privacy settings as well as account and
timeline grooming. That is how social privacy is performed. Telegram, however, is
something of a hybrid system, and in contradistinction to Facebook, it leads with
protected messaging, and follows with the social. That is, it is in the ﬁrst place a
messaging app, where one has an account, and can message others and join groups,
ﬁrst private ones (by default) but also public ones. It also has some elements of
social media, whereby one may create a channel (public by default) and have
others subscribe to it.
The apt deployment of Telegram would seem to conceptually invert social pri-
vacy. The app offers protected communication, appealing to a private user, rather
than to the public-facing user, seeking publicity (De Zeeuw and Tuters, forthcom-
ing). ‘Private sociality’ may be a term that captures operating in private chats and
private group chats both for the private user (not necessarily seeking publicity) as
well as the masked user (who may seek attention). One can operate in private mode
and still participate.
Second, apart from only private spaces in which to organize, recruit, chat and so
forth, the Telegram user may still seek publicity. Here the use of a channel is
4European Journal of Communication 0(0)
signiﬁcant for it allows the building of a following. Similar to YouTube, one can
broadcast to subscribers.
Telegram thereby could be said to reconcile dual desires of protection and
publicity by offering private messaging and broadcasting. It thereby appears to
go some way towards resolving the ‘online extremists’ dilemma’, a variation on the
‘terrorist’s dilemma’, which concerns balancing ‘operational security and public
outreach’ (Clifford and Powell, 2019; Shapiro, 2013).
Telegram, as mentioned earlier, has had other extremist users who are often
discussed together with the Internet celebrities in journalistic pieces (Robins-Early,
2019). In a description of its use by ISIS, the app’s combination of features is
described as follows: ‘Telegram’s public-facing “channels” and private messaging
“chats” make it a “dual-use” weapon [...]’ (Counter-Extremism Project, 2017).
The groups broadcast to followers on channels and recruit and organize through
one-to-one chats, which are secure. One need not maintain a telephone number to
use the service; to sign up one can create an account with a temporary ‘burner
phone’ or an Internet proxy phone number, validating the account through a one-
time SMS message (Yayla and Speckhard, 2017). Once set up, ISIS accounts or
those from other such groups are not removed with the rapidity that it occurs on
Twitter or Facebook; many stay up for months or much longer (Shehabat et al.,
2017). Content also endures. On Telegram, there is the capacity to upload large
video ﬁles; once uploaded, the videos are linked from channels, and those links
persist unless the channel is closed or the user deletes the ﬁle, making it a reliable
source for recruiting materials, but also a space for archiving content that may
have been deplatformed elsewhere.
The deplatformed and Telegram
For the deplatformed, Telegram’s reputation may be appealing. It affords ‘pro-
tected speech’ by being permissive of extreme content. It also keeps content up and
available, thereby allaying threats of deletion, a key concern for those who have
been deplatformed, and saw their content removed. Telegram also offers means to
build a following, and broadcast to large numbers of users (as on YouTube and
Twitter). Like other messaging apps including WhatsApp, Telegram has groups,
though it does not limit their size as much. Groups can have up to 200,000 users
(compared to 256 for WhatsApp), and channels can have an unlimited number of
subscribers. Telegram also enables large clusters of groups, in that one can forward
a message to an unlimited number of groups, as opposed to the smaller number on
WhatsApp, a restriction that received attention in the wake of misinformation
campaigns around elections in India (and Brazil). (On WhatsApp India has a
special limit of 5 forwards, compared to 20 globally.) In all, Telegram can compete
for the deplatformed users by offering the kinds of features seemingly sought by
those seeking protected speech, archiving as well as a following. It is considered
both a ‘protected space’ as well as a ‘publicity space’ (Nagy and Neff, 2015).
This study empirically examines the use of the platform by extreme Internet
celebrities that have migrated to it, inquiring into certain arguments made con-
cerning whether deplatforming ‘works’ and how those who have been deplat-
formed from mainstream social media use an alternative Telegram (DeCook,
2019). It discusses the effects of deplatforming for extreme internet celebrities,
alternative and mainstream social media platform, the Internet at large as well
as researchers. It does so ﬁrst by mapping the alternative social media ecology by
creating a bi-partite graph of select extreme Internet celebrities and the platforms
they use. Subsequently, the focus is on Telegram, for which a scraper is built and
deployed to collect posts made on public channels by select extreme Internet celeb-
rities who have migrated to it. The Telegram analysis utilizes platform data (such
as view counts), extreme language detection (hatebase.org) as well as textual anal-
ysis (keywords in context). It does so to begin to examine empirically some of the
arguments made about the effectiveness of deplatforming.
From the point of view of celebrities newly migrated to Telegram, is it an
effective alternative to mainstream platforms? Do audiences remain robust, or
thin? Are the celebrities as active as previously? Do they become more extreme
in the language they use? We found active celebrities but thinning audiences; we
also determined that their language was mellowing.
Mainstream platforms that deplatform ‘dangerous individuals’ may lose a par-
ticular audience consuming extreme speech. Do the audiences also depart the plat-
forms, or do they remain, consuming other materials? One may begin to answer
the question by examining the celebrity discussion about mainstream platforms on
Telegram. One may also examine the hyperlinks from Telegram to the platforms.
Which mainstream platforms remain of relevance to the celebrities, and which fade
from interest? We found that Facebook and Instagram have been successful in that
they have become unattractive to extreme celebrities, whereas YouTube and
Twitter remain signiﬁcant.
The research also maps out the alternative platform network to which deplat-
formed social media celebrities have migrated, and how they discuss certain of the
destinations. We found that most alternative platforms are used ‘instrumentally’ in
the sense that they are merely pointed to, rather than described for their particular
affordances. The exception is Telegram which appears to be a refuge, where mul-
tiple extreme celebrities have found a soft landing.
Mapping an alternative social media ecosystem
In order to map an alternative social media ecosystem, the research project com-
piled a list of deplatformed social media celebrities, mainly from the United States
and the United Kingdom.
At the same time, a list of alternative social media
platforms also was built, initially from those mentioned in right-wing public
groups on Telegram and supplemented through a so-called associative query snow-
balling technique, where search engines are queried for pairs of alternative social
media platform names (Rogers, 2018). Finally, each celebrity was sought on the
6European Journal of Communication 0(0)
alternative platforms. The connections between celebrities and platforms were
subsequently visualized in a network graph using Gephi, and interpreted through
visual network analysis (Venturini et al., 2015). Three ﬁndings stand out (see
The map shows the centrality of BitChute (alternative to YouTube), Minds
(alternative to Facebook), Gab (alternative to Twitter) as well as Telegram (the
hybrid messaging and broadcasting platform), in the sense that a majority of
the celebrities maintain presences there. Second, one may observe the revival
of the web as a potential destination for extreme celebrity content. Whether by
pointing to personal websites or new subscription services such as freespeech.tv,
the web comes (back) into view for these users. Some years on from the platform-
ization of the web, or the mass migration of activity from websites to social media,
extreme users are turning their attention there anew (Rogers, 2013). Third, there
are two mainstream platforms that remain central, since a number of the users
under study have active accounts there, having as yet not been deplatformed. Even
as their replacements are central in the alternative social media network, YouTube
and Twitter remain of relevance as a destination for extreme content and their
Finally, it should be pointed that the alternative social media network comprises
more than ‘the social’, including for example donation and payment processing as
well as merchandise destinations. The relevance of those types of alternatives
became clear initially when mapping which platforms deplatformed the celebrities
(see Figure 2). As PayPal and other payment sites remove particular individuals,
alternatives have emerged, however much both the scope of the deplatforming as
well as migration to the alternative appear still marginal.
The overall question of the robustness and longevity of the alternative network
remains an open one, but at least for Telegram, the research was able to make
some initial determinations concerning the question of whether the extreme voices
shrivel or thrive there despite having been deplatformed by mainstream social
Scraping Telegram for extreme celebrity activity
A Telegram scraper was built and employed to extract, through the platform’s
API, the contents of celebrity public channels.
Here the analysis concerns the
extremity of the language employed, posting activity measures and post view
counts, longitudinally, since the so-called ‘purge’ of ‘dangerous individuals’ from
Facebook and Instagram (in particular) in May 2019, a 6-month time frame in all.
The determination of extreme speech beneﬁts from the deployment of hatebase.
org, the repository of (so-called ambiguous and unambiguous) extreme and hateful
speech (Davidson et al., 2017). In the celebrity posts, outlinks to other platforms
are counted, in order to gain an indication of which mainstream platforms are still
considered relevant destinations. Apart from these counts and scores, the project
also produced an analysis of celebrity discussions about mainstream and
Figure 1. Extreme internet celebrities and the platforms where they remain or to which they have migrated. Bi-partite graph of extreme
internet celebrities and the platforms for which they have accounts. October 2019.
8European Journal of Communication 0(0)
Figure 2. Extreme internet celebrities and the platforms that deplatformed them. Bipartite graph of extreme internet celebrities and the
platforms for which they no longer have accounts (or have been ‘demonetized’ by them). October 2019.
alternative platforms (with keyword in context word trees). We thematized these
discussions, ﬁnding how deplatforming and replatforming (or migrating to alter-
native platforms) are framed.
When the extreme Internet celebrities migrated to Telegram (and other alterna-
tive platforms), one question concerned whether they would be able to sustain
themselves there, given that the audiences are both smaller (as we found), and
thus, the interaction with the fan base or following less intense. Quantitatively,
the audiences on the new platforms have thinned (see Figure 3). Of interest is the
consistency of the celebrities in their posting, despite the overall audience strength.
Indeed, for most, it appears the ‘permanent updating culture’ has not been affected
by platform migration (Jerslev, 2016). There have been some changes in behaviour,
however. After a ﬂurry of extreme language posted on alternative platforms in the
immediate aftermath of the May ‘purge’, its usage has ﬂagged (see Figure 4).
Analytically deploying the ‘unambiguous’ extreme and hateful speech in the hate-
base repository, we found that there were increasingly fewer mentions of them,
generally, by most celebrities.
Whether one would expect a decrease in the usage
of extreme speech, especially given what could be thought of as a less moderated
space, is not clear, though in the Reddit study mentioned earlier those users who
were forced to migrate to other spaces also appear to use more mild language.
Which platforms benefit from deplatforming?
The research on how the extreme Internet celebrities describe how they have been
affected by deplatforming proceeded by querying both mainstream and alternative
platform names in the celebrities’ posts, and displaying the platforms as keywords
in context, using word trees. The hyperlinks in celebrity posts also were extracted,
in order to gain an indication of which platforms have content that is being
recommended or at least pointed to. Generally, it was found that Facebook and
Instagram are routinely critiqued as sites that do not grant freedom of speech
and whose use are generally not in the interests of extreme actors, whereas
Twitter and YouTube remain of interest, in the sense that they make appeals for
supporters to use the platforms to spread the word, or in the case of YouTube to
invite them on their shows (see Figure 5).
The research also examined the hyperlinks made from celebrity Telegram posts,
ﬁnding that by far the personal websites were most pointed to, followed by Twitter
and YouTube (see Figure 6). Instagram and Facebook draw far fewer links. The
link analysis provides an indication of which platforms are still relevant, and which
less so, both to the celebrities, but presumably to the content the celebrities also
ﬁnd of interest for their audiences. In keeping with the earlier ﬁnding of the revival
of the web in the map of the alternative social media ecology, here the web emerges
again as the most linked-to destination, when the links to the personal websites as
well as newly formed subscription platforms are taken collectively. It also shows
that Facebook and Instagram are beneﬁtting from the deplatforming activities in
the sense that celebrity interest in them has declined, while the other mainstream
10 European Journal of Communication 0(0)
Figure 3. Platform audiences of extreme internet celebrities before and after migration, depicted as Sankey diagram. Data per October 2019.
platforms, Twitter and YouTube, have not seen such a concomitant slump.
Indeed, as the discursive analysis of Twitter and YouTube indicate, they both
continue to be viewed as resources either for spreading the word, and for broad-
casting content (see Figure 7).
Conclusions: Deplatforming effects and researcher migration
This study examines Telegram as a destination for the deplatformed, asking what it
has to offer not only to extreme internet celebrities, but also to researchers, who in
Figure 4. Post counts, post views and extremity of language used by all extreme internet
celebrities under study with an account on Telegram, May–October 2019.
Figure 5. Facebook discussed by extreme internet celebrities who were deplatformed by the
social media service. Word trees showing keyword in context from all Telegram posts, May–
12 European Journal of Communication 0(0)
a rather different sense are also being deplatformed, having seen their access to
data from mainstream platforms, especially Facebook and Instagram, diminished
or removed (Bruns et al., 2018). Should researchers follow the deplatformed to
alternative social media, and/or continue to research the mainstream platforms
where the data streams have been winnowed and replaced by company-curated
data sets? As has been demonstrated, one is able to study the reception of the
mainstream platforms through the posts on alternative ones, and gain indications
Figure 6. Web outlinks from extreme internet celebrity posts on Telegram, arrayed as circle
packing diagram, May–October 2019.
Figure 7. Twitter discussed by extreme internet celebrities who were deplatformed by the
social media service. Word trees showing keyword in context from all Telegram channel posts,
of the extent to which deplatforming has ‘worked’ for the mainstream platforms.
Such work does not replace examinations of them, but it shows that analysing the
one social media site does not need to result only in ‘single platform studies’
Unlike Facebook and Instagram, for researchers Telegram is not ‘locked’.
Apart from certain rate limiting, the platform allows widespread probing of its
public parts, both groups as well as channels.
Not only is it possible to study how
other platforms are discussed and linked to, but also the extreme voices may be
studied, where questions may be posed concerning (at least) two widespread views
that have been circulated about the effects of channelling them into an alternative
set of platforms friendly to them. Does the content become only more and more
extreme? There is also the question of the thinning of audiences, both in gross
terms but also over time, and whether the decline in audience strength provides less
oxygen and thus decreases activity. As reported, audiences have thinned, activity
has remained steady, and the language employed has become milder.
While difﬁcult to determine with certainty, Telegram does not appear to be used
by these extreme Internet celebrities for private recruitment, content archiving and
other features that appear to make it attractive to those having been deplatformed.
Judging from the hyperlink and discursive analysis, Telegram rather is deployed
more like Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or Facebook in a broadcasting mode,
with short (and frequent) posts put out on public channels.
‘Cancel culture’ is a contemporary term that describes the larger phenomenon
of public viliﬁcation for offensive speech or action, largely in social media but also
through other forms of deplatforming such as the calling off of a speaking engage-
ment (Bromwich, 2018; McDermott, 2019). One is cancelled by powerful media
forces (Coates, 2019), like a television show that had been thriving with niche
content and an audience not as sizable as desired. It also has been deployed by
extreme Internet celebrities to express victimhood or victimization. Indeed, when
researching how these users describe the mainstream platforms that deplatformed
them there are expressions of having been wronged, and also having been asym-
metrically (and unfairly) treated, when banned. Being cancelled by Facebook,
Instagram, Twitter, and/or YouTube has stark consequences for the maintenance
of a fan base, following and revenue stream, as has been reported. Migrating to
alternative social media may not offer as much. Platform cancelling at the same
time also demonstrates a shift in what is considered acceptable on social media.
Unacceptable content and individuals are removed.
Here it is important to return to the question of the ‘locked’ platforms, asking
how to research the delistings, deletions and other cancellations when the data to
do so on mainstream platforms become unavailable. Following the extreme inter-
net celebrities to alternative social media platforms provides one manner to work
on the question of the effects and effectiveness of deplatforming, albeit from celeb-
rity points of view as well as from their posting and linking behaviour. The alter-
native social media ecology also could be studied for the materials no longer
available on the mainstream platforms, having been moved and archived there.
14 European Journal of Communication 0(0)
While there are these and other research opportunities, following the extreme
internet celebrities to their new media does not substitute for critical mainstream
platform monitoring, and the study of what is deemed worthy of cancellation.
The project was undertaken by Lucia Bainotti, Gabriele Colombo, Veronica Moretti, Stijn
Peeters, Leonardo Sanna, Silvia Semenzin, Noemi Schiavi and the author at the Institute of
Advanced Studies, University of Bologna, with thanks to our host, Giovanna Cosenza.
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following ﬁnancial support for the research, author-
ship, and/or publication of this article: The research has received funding from the
European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agree-
ment No 732942, project ODYCCEUS.
1. During the research period in October 2019, a series of Italian individuals and groups
were deplatformed by Facebook and other social media sites, though they did not imme-
diately migrate, or at least announce their movements, to alternative platforms.
2. The capacity to scrape public groups is also a feature of the tool.
3. The extreme Internet celebrities may have mellowed in their explicit utterances, according
to the hatebase analysis, but they may still trigger hateful reactions through the use of
implicit language. Moreover, the analysis here relies only on the celebrities’ speech rather
than the replies and comments.
4. To subscribe to a private channel or access a private group, the researcher needs an
invitation (or invite link) from the administrator. Researchers have studied such
groups, for example, in an analysis of the culture of revenge porn sharing (Semenzin
and Bainotti, 2020) as well as ISIS lone wolf recruitment (Shehabat et al., 2017). There it
is argued that encrypted communication enables the sharing of more violent content.
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