Fringe Groups Splinter Online After Facebook and Twitter Bans

Just hours after rioters were cleared from the Capitol on Wednesday, there was already discussion about what would happen next on Parler and Gab, another social-media platform that has become popular with the far right.

Mr. Trump was expected to take his megaphone to the platforms, and tens of thousands joined those sites expecting him to land there. But by Monday night, Parler was mostly offline. Gab had also become largely unusable, as a flood of new users and downloads appeared to crush the site, making it impossible to search for, or post, new items.

Some groups have moved to smaller sites, like MeWe and CloutHub, as well as fringe messaging boards.

“There is a massive exodus that is happening, and we are really seeing people scatter across different sites as they look for a home,” said Mr. Argentino. “Different groups have settled in different places.”

On Telegram, where members of the Proud Boys and other militia groups host popular channels, there have been calls for people to organize for marches on state capitol buildings on Saturday (Jan. 16). On one Telegram channel, which has over 20,000 followers, addresses were posted for those buildings, as well as the addresses for tech companies, including Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Google.

Members of the Boogaloo movement, another far-right group, have also organized on Telegram and Signal for rallies on Sunday (Jan 17). On 4chan and other messaging groups fliers were posted calling for another march on Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20. In comments under those posts, people have voiced support for targeting various news organizations like The New York Times and CNN.

Andrew Torba, chief executive of Gab, said: “As we have communicated to our partners in law enforcement, we have adopted a heightened security posture in the lead-up to the inauguration and are ready to respond quickly to any request law enforcement may make of us during the period.”

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