CTEC Digital Research Lead Alex Newhouse, Researcher Adel Arlett, and Smith College researcher Leela McClintock recently investigated the Proud Boys, a far-right, neo-fascist organization with a history of committing violence. In spite of enforcement by social media companies, CTEC finds that the Proud Boys continue to use Twitter and Facebook to spread dangerous coronavirus conspiracy theories, in addition to being high-profile participants in the recent Reopen American protests. 

Newhouse, Arlett, and McClintock uncovered and monitored the activity of several Proud Boys and affiliated accounts across Facebook, Twitter, and Telegram.They found clear and substantial evidence that the group has embraced extremist narratives, such as ascribing evil intent to the United Nations and Bill Gates, even on mainstream platforms. Further, influential Proud Boy leaders like Gavin McInnes have found a haven on Telegram, where they spread racist and violent theories about the pandemic.

Read CTEC’s full brief below.