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FBI flags internet slang as ‘extremist’ – think tank

The agency reportedly considers the use of terms like ‘based’ or ‘red pilled’ to be a sign of ‘extremism’

The FBI flags popular internet slang terms like “based” and “red pilled” as indicators of “violent extremism,” according to internal documents obtained last week by think tank the Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The documents show that the agency “equates protected online speech to violence,” the Oversight Project tweeted alongside a guide to “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism” (RMVE), which includes a “glossary of terms used by RMVEs.”

The agency doesn’t include a definition for RMVE itself, and admits in a footnote that some of the tactics used by these “extremists” may “constitute exercise of rights guaranteed by the First Amendment” and thus cannot legally form the basis of an FBI investigation. 

Based” is used by racial extremists “to refer to someone who has been converted to racist ideology, or as a way of indicating ideological agreement,” the FBI claims, while other common internet slang like “LARPing” (live action role playing) is said to be used by “RMVEs and their associates” online “to deride individuals accused of not being as extreme, or in possession of skills or other valued characteristics, they claim to have.”

Another FBI document the think tank posted describes “involuntary celibate violent extremism” (IVE), warning of “involuntary celibates who seek to commit violence in support of their belief that society unjustly denies them sexual or romantic attention to which they believe they are entitled.” They have committed “at least five lethal attacks” in North America since 2014, causing 28 deaths and earning their own chapter in the FBI’s “domestic terrorism reference guide.” 

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The agency admits “indicators of IVE ideology may comprise constitutionally protected conduct” and includes a glossary that, like the racist terminology primer, lists popular internet slang terms like “normie” and “blue pill” – which are “derisive terms used to to describe normal people” that it admits are “not used exclusively by incels”. Like “red pill,” the term “blue pill” references the 1999 film ‘The Matrix’, in which the protagonist must choose between his illusory “normal” life or the unpleasant reality lurking beneath.

However, using the term “red pill” might get you flagged as two different types of violent extremist by the FBI, which claims racists use it to “indicate the adoption of racist, antisemitic, or fascist beliefs” and incels use it in a more general sense to mean “society is corrupt, and that the believer is a victim of this corruption.”

The FBI, along with a dozen other US government agencies, was found to be colluding with Twitter and other Big Tech platforms to censor certain narratives in internal communications made public in a Missouri court case last year and confirmed by Elon Musk after his purchase of Twitter.

April 10, 2023 at 09:42PM

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