Anti-Hate Group Counters Violent Extremism On Discord With New Channel

In an effort to combat hate groups and violent extremism online, anti-extremism group Life After Hate is launching a new channel that is intended to help individuals disengage from violent extremist groups and hate space on the social messaging and live-streaming platform Discord.

Life After Hate, which was founded in 2011 by two former violent extremists, describes “The Daily Former Discord” -- its new Discord channel -- as “a multi-level public engagement tool designed to help those currently engaged in violent extremism, those looking to exit such hate groups, and those who have successfully left lives of hate behind, reengaging in society.”

Online spaces, including Discord, can be used to do both great good and horrific evil,” said Patrick Riccards, Life After Hate's executive director. “With a growing number of individuals looking to take accountability for their involvement in violent extremism, we must do all we can to engage in places seen as familiar and safe. If one can be recruited into an extremist group on Discord, one can successfully disengage with the help of Discord.”



To accomplish its goal, Life After Hate's Discord channel will provide monitored discussions on a range of issues, including current events, health and wellness, accountability, and life after extremism. Discord users can also use the channel to engage with others who have successfully disengaged from violent extremism, discussing how to leave, how to effectively tell their story and more.

The Discord channel is based on Life After Hate's The Daily Former (TDF) podcast, which launched in April 2023 and features conversations with former members of violent extremist groups, family members of former extremists and experts in violent extremism.

While Discord, a platform known mostly for its gaming communities, continues to update its hateful conduct policy to protect targeted users, the app harbors extremist groups and leaders trying to manipulate a younger generation of users on private servers. Weeks before the start of the Israel-Hamas war, Discord’s Counter-Extremism analysts reported a 13-year-old boy to the FBI for planning in detail to carry out a mass shooting at a temple in Ohio.

'At the time of the event, Discord’s VP of safety and trust John Redgrave said, “We have a zero-tolerance policy against hate and violent extremism, and when we see it, we take immediate action.” However, the platform has often struggled to act in time. Earlier this year, a teenager in Iowa killed a sixth grader, wounded several others at his school, and killed himself after posting about “gearing up” for the attack on Discord in a channel dedicated to school shootings.

According to a national survey conducted by Life After Hate in late 2023, two-thirds of Americans believe violent hate crimes have increased over the past decade. However, one third believe that those guilty of ideologically driven violence are capable of change. Overall, the group is trying to prove otherwise.

“Change is possible, but only when one takes accountability for their past actions and responsibility for doing what is necessary to disengage from hateful ideology,” Riccards said.

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