Telegram as a Buttress: How far-right extremists and conspiracy theorists are expanding their infrastructures via Telegram

The ISD Germany study on the extreme right-wing use of Telegram serves as a complementary text to the “Escape routes” report. In it, the research team examined links to other platforms, which were shared on the controversial messenger service and were disseminated in the channels of right-wing extremists, right-wing radicals and conspiracy ideologues in the German-speaking world. The main scope of this research was on smaller platforms that do not fall under the deletion obligation of the NetzDG. Links to larger platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter were also analysed, given that the collected data set contained almost twice as many links to these platforms than to those not fully covered by the NetzDG.

For this report, the ISD research team collected 659,110 messages from 238 public channels from the extreme right, radical right, Reichsbürger:innen and conspiracy ideology spectrum between 1 January and 12 September 2021. From these messages, 371,988 links were extracted, leading to 8,252 domains. The ISD Germany researchers examined domains that were shared more than 15 times and identified social networks and platforms.

Tags: conspiracy theories, far-right extremism, Telegram