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A call for murder against a federal councilor goes viral on Telegram

Telegram’s messaging service is full of users calling for acts of violence under the protection of anonymity.Built by: Shutterstock

A Swiss Telegram channel spreads threats – reaching tens of thousands. Experts warn that the current case is an example of the dangers this can pose to a democratic system.

Fairmedia, an independent media organization, monitors terrorist activities on the messaging service Telegram. This is done systematically by focusing on channels with links to Switzerland.

Now researchers have found a puzzling case, they write in the current report, that Watson could have foreseen.

The messages say “we are going to kill them all now,” the “deep state” must be destroyed and the “entire Swiss government must be executed.”

Due to the corona pandemic and the measures taken by the central government, these types of reasonable calls have increased. However, Fairmedia notes that these rarely reach a wider audience.

The content of the Telegram channel in question largely corresponds to the American QAnon conspiracy theory, which has also gained a foothold in Switzerland after the corona pandemic.

What does this have to do with Trump and JFK?

The name of the Telegram channel and its alleged operator are not published here so as not to inadvertently advertise it. He can be counted among the spectrum of conspiracy theorists and the QAnon movement, known from America.

Fairmedia writes about ridiculous content:

TM portrays himself as John F. Kennedy, who traveled back in time to the present to fight the “Nazi Jewish Satanic cabal” whose goal is to “exterminate all of humanity.” He claims to be supported by John F. Kennedy Jr. and Donald Trump.

He also believes that the Space Force launched by Trump will play a key role in the fight against the cabal.

The accompanying message has already been viewed 107,000 times, Watson can confirm.

An AI-generated image for the messaging service TelegramAn AI-generated image for the messaging service Telegram

Image: DALL-E / Watson

Fairmedia comments:

“While his posts may sound ridiculous, the numbers show that TM is not a lone lunatic. His Telegram channel continues to grow; More than 16,000 subscribers have been added in the past month alone.

However, it cannot detect which Telegram users have subscribed to a channel.

There are no official user numbers for Switzerland, and we don’t know how many people use their toxic channels with extremist content. According to a study by IGEM, 800,000 people (12 percent of the population) use an alternative messaging service such as Telegram every day.

Why is it dangerous?

Fairmedia assumes that subscribers to the Telegram channel come from the entire German-speaking area, i.e. Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and North America. The channel operator distributes a lot of news in English and German. They are often associated with Switzerland.

“Toxic telegram channels that openly call for the assassination of federal councilors are an escalating situation that reaches from time to time. It is worrying that such messages are going viral in this situation,” he said.

Fairmedia

Watson does not elaborate on the operator.

Distrust and hatred of political and social elites are common features of the QAnon narrative, Fairmedia notes. Conspiracy stories went so far that elites would kidnap children and abuse them in satanic ways. Here is also a clear reference to the associated anti-Semitic conspiracy story.

As Fairmedia noted in an earlier report, Swiss alternative media, distributed via Telegram, also incites anti-Semitism.

How does the central government respond?

As the authority told Fairmedia, the Swiss Federal Police is aware of Fedpol-related calls for violence.

Fedpol, which is responsible for protecting the state government and central parliamentarians, has seen fewer threat reports ‘against their protected persons’ since the end of states’ corona measures, but the overall number of threats is comparable to the pre-corona period. always increased.

“From the beginning of the Corona operations until today, the worrying content and violent tone of these threats have been in effect.”

A Fedpol spokesperson

In the current report, Fairmedia writes that the Telegram channels it regularly evaluates are “full of disinformation, hate speech and confusing conspiracy theories.” These are all undisputed and have more or less strong support.

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