White supremacists using gamers' chat app to plot Charlottesville revenge

White supremacists 'using Discord chat service app to plot against anti-fascists'

It is thought Charlottesville protesters used Discord

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

In the wake of Charlottesville, it has emerged far-right white supremacists are using an online chat service designed for gamers to organise hacking and harassment towards people opposed to racism.

Unite The Right has been organising meetups and demonstrations through messaging app Discord, which is popular in the gaming community.

In fact Discord has become so important to the white supremacist movement that the app has been described as having a monopoly on its communications, according to Unicorn Riot.

Discord is designed for gamers to stay in touch while teaming up for multi-player games. It has its own dedicated servers for popular multi-player games such as World of Warcraft and Call of Duty.

The app is relatively new but it's already hugely popular. It's average rating on iTunes is 4.5 and last year popular tech website Life Hacker said it was "the voice chat app I've always wanted."

As well as being completely free, Discord is renowned for being practically idiot-proof - an attribute which, some might suggest, makes it well-suited to the white supremacist community.

Encouraging harassment

Unicorn Riot claims a dedicated Discord server named Pony Power was created on August 17, days after Charlottesville, and members of the group appear to be encouraging the harassment of anti-fascists.

The server was created by someone going by the username I Am Not A Gerbil, but the user's posts appear to suggest the man behind the account is Dan Kleve.

Kleve reportedly attended the Unite The Right demonstrations in Charlottesville and is also a part of Vanguard America, which is a neo-Nazi organisation. He is also allegedly in charge of an online group called Racial Theocracy which is a national socialist group.

The user is a student at University of Nebraska-Lincoln and when his far-right views were revealed some called for him to be expelled.

It seems that the Discord chat is an attempt to get back at these people, as he wrote about the situation in a message and declared "this is war."

In the chat users talk about targeting people for the simple crime of 'liking' anti-racism posts online as well as targeting journalists. A database of people who are against fascism was also discussed on the app.

Others also mention hacking anti-fascist websites as well as setting up their own site to compile all their communications as well as staying hidden at the same time.

Official rejection

In light of the adverse publicity it has received, Discord's developers, who have no links to white supremacy of any kind, has been moved to release an official statement.

The statement says the app and its developers are is against white supremacy and closed many servers after it was found that Unite The Right was using the service.

Whether that will deter the racists remains to be seen.