The takedown of Parler is the latest blow to the British far right, which was unsuccessfully attempting to rebuild its online audience following waves of deplatforming by mainstream social networks

Extremists' reach has been "extraordinarily reduced"…
Parler was among a cluster of niche social networks that extremists have been forced to rely on after bans by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

The other popular fall-backs are Telegram (Twitter replacement), VK (Facebook replacement) and Bitchute (YouTube) replacement
But far-right figures have struggled to attract anywhere near the same audience as they had on mainstream networks

From a high of 1 million Facebook followers and 413,000 on Twitter, Tommy Robinson has now been left with under 100,000 followers on Telegram and Bitchute combined
Britain First had more than 2m likes on its Facebook page by the time it was deleted in 2018, with another 29,700 followers on Twitter and more for individual accounts run by then-leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen

Its current main social - Telegram - has 18,417 subscribers
“If they continue to split themselves across a series of platforms, none of them will become viable in the long term,” said Joe Mulhall, a senior researcher at Hope Not Hate

“It has extraordinarily reduced extremists’ reach and that has been reflected in offline activism.”
Deplatforming has always created concern over segregation and unregulated spaces, which we have seen played out on Parler, Gab and Telegram

Mr Mulhall said that while it risks creating increasingly extreme “silos”, it reduces the ability to reach new followers and victims
Extremists have also sought to generate publicity and support by decrying social media "censorship", but had little success

Parler could come back, Gab is growing and a new platform may be created or co-opted, but so far it looks like the mainstream reach they once had is gone

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More from @lizziedearden

15 Jan
Ukip is back in the news after accepting Katie Hopkins as a member

I've charted its slide into the far right, and how it caused the party to be obliterated in the polls…
In 2018, anyone at pro-Brexit or 'Free Tommy' protests would have seen placards, hats and signs with the logo 'Make Britain Great Again'

The group, organised through a Facebook page, was run by Ukip members. I interviewed its founder, who left and sought deradicalisation support
In the same year, Ukip leader Gerard Batten took on Tommy Robinson as an adviser and welcomed Paul Joseph Watson, Mark Meechan (Count Dankula) and Carl Benjamin (Sargon of Akkad) as members

The aim was to use their online reach to bypass the 'MSM' and get new members
Read 8 tweets
13 Jan
Three terrorist prisoners, including the Parsons Green bomber and Manchester attacker’s brother, have been charged with attacking a prison officer inside HMP Belmarsh

The alleged assault happened in May last year…
Hashem Abedi, Ahmed Hassan and Muhammed Saeed, 22, have been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm

Abedi has also been charged with assault on an emergency worker, over alleged attack on a second prison officer

They will appear at Bromley Mags Court on 7 April
The incident came four months after the first Isis-inspired attack inside a UK prison, which took place at HMP Whitemoor in January 2020

Concerns have been raised about terrorist networking inside HMP Belmarsh after several high-profile cases…
Read 8 tweets
11 Jan
One of the UK’s youngest terror plotters has been named for the first time after losing a legal bid to remain anonymous

Jack Reed, 18, was jailed last year for preparing neo-Nazi acts of terror, and given a new sentence last month for child sex offences…
His lawyers applied for a ban on identifying him a day before his birthday on Christmas Eve

The Recorder of Manchester, Judge Nicholas Dean QC, granted extension to the restrictions but dismissed application following a challenge by PA and admitted the extension was also wrong
Reed, of Durham, had detailed plans to firebomb synagogues and other buildings in the Durham area as part of what he believed was an upcoming “race war”

Before being arrested, he wrote a terrorist manifesto and said his upcoming 12 weeks of study leave would be “showtime”
Read 4 tweets
11 Jan
The situation in courts is absolutely ridiculous, they are not 'Covid-secure' in any way

Some courts, particularly the Old Bailey, have got good with facilitating remote attendance but others dismiss requests because the court 'is open' or demand bespoke applications to judges
We have had numerous cases of court staff, lawyers and jurors catching Covid

Now, reports of judges falling ill with coronavirus are growing. See this thread and replies

The crown court backlog is still growing and the consequences of delays are terrible for both victims and defendants

That is justification to continue hearings, but not to continue them in person where it can be done remotely
Read 4 tweets
8 Jan
Horrific accounts of the targeting of journalists in the Capitol are emerging

The "who do you work for" demand will be chillingly familiar to journalists who have covered far-right protests in the UK, where attacks on photographers and camera crews have recieved little coverage
Print journalists like myself can do our best to blend in, but photographers and camera operators are frequently targeted

On the day far-right activist James Goddard confronted me at Westminster Magistrates' Court - for which he was convicted...…
... female camera operator from Press Association was surrounded and intimidated by far-right “yellow vests” who called her a “Nazi” and “scumbag” outside the court

Signs targeting the "scum media" and "MSM" are common at far-right and conspiracy theorist protests in Britain
Read 9 tweets
7 Jan
Exclusive: Extremism has become so widespread online that it “cannot be policed”, the head of UK counter-terror policing has said

Neil Basu warned that a low legal threshold could leave police “overwhelmed” by cases…
Campaigners have called for more action against hateful material, but concerns have sparked an inquiry on freedom of expression

The government is recommendations to create a legal definition of extremism, which could criminalise material that currently falls short of the law
Mr Basu told me online radicalisation was his biggest concern, especially during Covid, but added: “When you look at the volume of material which is horrific, shouldn’t be allowed online and is really distressing for a lot of people, the volume is so high it cannot be policed."
Read 4 tweets

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