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7 Trends in Online Extremism to Look Out for in 2022

Those on the more extreme side of the spectrum have changed to alternative web destinations like streaming sites DLive and Odysee, as well as Gab.

Those on the more extreme side of the spectrum have changed to alternative web destinations like streaming sites DLive and Odysee, as well as Gab.
Image: Shutterstock (Shutterstock)

Over the past decade, far-right extremists witnessed firsthand the power of social networks and powerhouse distribution platforms like Facebook, Reddit, YouTube, and Twitter to reach new audiences. But under pressure from politicians, the media, users, and in some cases even their own employees, tech firms flipped. While conspiracy theorists, white supremacists, neo-fascists, and others continue to find large audiences via mainstream platforms, they can no longer rely on them to keep the financial gravy train that funds content creation flowing. They’ve similarly been hounded off of some web infrastructure, ranging from hosting and DNS providers to registrars.

MAGA conservatives have launched their own platforms, like Parler and Gettr, both of which have run into serious operational troubles and are facing a potential knockout blow from the supposedly upcoming launch of Donald Trump’s own site, Truth Social. Those on the more extreme side of the spectrum have changed to alternative web destinations like streaming sites DLive and Odysee, or neo-Nazi hub Gab.

While these so-called “alt-tech” sites have a habit of either failing or struggling to maintain even modest audiences, new ones pop up on a regular basis in a ritual resembling a game of musical chairs. In one example, Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist streamer, recently launched a new streaming site. Several extreme movements, ranging from the Proud Boys to QAnon, have also largely migrated to barely moderated messaging apps like Telegram and other niche web spaces in what has been described as a “great scattering.”

“For example, I noticed today that Infowars is currently advertising 131 different ‘alternative’ places and accounts,” Megan Squire, an Elon University professor and senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), told Gizmodo.

Disclosure: The author of this story’s partner works for the SPLC, but had no involvement in the writing of this story.