The largest online forum of the “incel” movement has seen an increase in calls for violence, according to a new report released on Friday.
The Center for Countering Digital Hate found a 59 percent increase in the use of terms and codewords related to acts of mass violence on the “incel” forum, after analyzing over 1 million posts between January 2021 and July 2022, according to Friday’s report.
The term “incel” was created as a shorthand for “involuntary celibate” but has come to refer to a predominately-male movement that promotes hatred and violence against women and other groups.
The “incel” movement has been linked to dozens of deaths, including a 2014 massacre in Isla Vista, Calif., that left six dead and 14 injured, the report noted.
“Hateful” and “dehumanizing” language is central to the movement, with 21 percent of all posts on the “incel” forum studied for Friday’s report featuring misogynistic, racist and homophobic language.
The vast majority of users are supportive of rape, with 89 percent expressing support in threads that discussed rape. The forum also tolerated and promoted pedophilia, with 28 percent of users mentioning keywords related to pedophilia and 53 percent voicing support on threads about pedophilia.
The report noted that the forum recently changed its rules from blocking the sexualization of all minors to blocking the sexualization of only pre-pubescent minors, allowing for the sexualization of pubescent minors.
“Incels are not lone wolves or socially isolated,” Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, said in a statement. “They are in fact enmeshed in highly active communities with a coherent, evolving ideology that has radicalized further in the past eighteen months.”
The center called on technology and social media companies to make several changes to prevent the rise of the “incel” movement, including recommending that YouTube de-platform “incel” channels and that Google de-rank “incel” websites.
“Big Tech companies, like YouTube, Twitter and Cloudflare, have enabled this community,” Ahmed said. “They know about the problem but have failed to act. They are voluntarily providing a platform and monetizing content that encourages atrocities against women and girls.”