For my research on conspiracy theories, religion, and extremism I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time on the social media platform Telegram. For a few weeks, a group named White Lives Matter (WLM) had been planning rallies and protests in the major cities in the United States and in Toronto, Canada. . . . The administrators or leaders were posting numerous comments about keeping the chat focused on the protests and excluding racial commentary or extremist opinions. There was a twofold rationale for these requests: a) media were monitoring the group chat and they wanted the focus to be on the protests and not providing any other information; and b) they wanted to appeal to the “normies” in the anti-lock down groups to join them. Normies is a term that QAnon adherents and anti-lock down supporters use to describe themselves.
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