Warning: This analysis contains highly offensive and potentially triggering language. Where possible, slur words are marked with asterisks, but in cases where that may make the content unclear, offensive language is cited.
An analysis by the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism (GPAHE) of the recent leak exposing the Direct Messages (DMs) and email addresses of the far-right social media network Poast reveals a cesspool of hate. The site’s 30,000 users traffic in graphic racism, anti-LGBTQ+ hatred, and neo-Nazism. Violent language, along with discussions about doxxing both anti-fascist activists and other Poast users, were also prominent within the leaked messages. The leak provides illuminating evidence of how people with extremist beliefs talk to, and attack, others in private messages, and use unregulated forums to radicalize users.
Poast is part of the Fediverse, short for “federated universe,” which is a “collection of community owned, ad-free, decentralized, and privacy-centric social networks.” Poast advertises itself as the “Fediverse for shitposters” who platform massive amounts of hate speech, not as they often claim, harmless “memes.” The Fediverse itself is not necessarily predisposed to far-right ideology, as it lets each community govern its own servers. A more mainstream example of a network existing within the Fediverse is Mastodon, which was once touted as one of Twitter’s successors following Elon Musk’s takeover. The darker side of the Fediverse exists on platforms like Poast and the now-defunct Kiwifarms.net, which are known to welcome neo-Nazis.
A GPAHE-created word cloud of Poast’s DMs reveals the vile nature of the site’s private discourse. While much of the chatter was related to internet drama and politics, hate and violent speech in Poast DMs run rampant with the liberal use of slurs and hateful language such as: “ni*****” (28,382 mentions), “fa***** (18,629 mentions), “retard” (5,422 mentions), “tranny” (1,256 mentions), “rape” (1,156 mentions), and “kik*” (1,110 mentions).
GPAHE’s analysis determined some of the users who interacted frequently with others or had the most DM mentions. A couple of examples include “graf” (25,122 mentions), an openly racist admin of Poast, and YouTuber and podcaster GatorTime (8,546 mentions), a Poast user often referred to as “gator.” The data contained a number of users whose names demonstrated their hatred and often explicit neo-Nazism. Multiple users had the neo-Nazi “1488” moniker on their names and utilized racist slurs, like fa****n*****rapist1488, Alex1488, NathanielHigger1488, and 14point88nigg*watts (14 represents the “14 words,” a white supremacist slogan and “88” represents “HH,” meaning the eighth letter of the alphabet signifying “Heil Hitler”).
Extremist beliefs are prevalent on Poast, with users greeting each other with “1488” and openly discussing their admiration of Hitler. One user, Alex1488, attempted to send an animated image, referred to as an “emote,” of the Black Sun, an esoteric Nazi symbol associated with Heinrich Himmler. Others talk about getting Nazi tattoos, radicalizing new users of the “Fedi[verse]” into Nazism, and discussing their place atop the racial hierarchy. Unsurprisingly, many of these users were also highly antisemitic and racist, lamenting the idea of living in an area they believed to be populated by Jewish or Black people. Aside from using the n-word extremely liberally, examples of anti-Black racism included calling for the deaths of all Black people by using the racist slogan “TOTAL N***** DEATH” and claims that Black people are “disgusting.” Consistent with a conspiracy claiming that Jewish people “control” Hollywood, users talk to each other about how television has “replaced god and family with jews on tv.” Attacks on Jewish media personalities also included calling popular YouTuber Ethan Klein, known as h3h3, a “weird ki**.”
Data regarding a few Poast users’ online activity demonstrated a potential concern for their role in doxxing anonymous users and for their hate speech on Gab and KiwiFarms. On Gab, Shadowman311 shared a video of Texas shooter Mauricio Garcia revealing his face. Kinochet, presumably named after far-right Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, whose regime systematically tortured and executed his opponents, was active on Kiwifarms. Kinochet shared a message there related to a sexual assault allegation against far-right podcaster Ethan Ralph, claiming the victim was a “whoreish chick” and that the assault was justified. Kinochet also referred to GatorTime as the “true savior of the white race.”
There were plenty of conversations exhibiting various extremist ideologies, including misogyny, extreme anti-LGBTQ+ beliefs, and the promotion of and admission to doxxing. In a conversation about women, AnimeTradCath, TradCath being short for a far-right interpretation of Catholicism called “Traditional Catholicism,” sends a message to a self-identified female user saying “Women are retarded when being compared to Men, but that is because Women aren’t supposed to be intelligent or logical like Men.” COWBOY1488, talking to a woman who faced harassment from other users, suggests she “can be a decent women (sic) but starting internet beef is not gonna solve your abuse.” Other hateful messages targeting women include: “Women hate thinking,” “feminism has made white women (intentionally) behave less feminine and more hostile,” “[women] will walk all over eachother (sic) to be top uterus,” and one particularly vile message claiming that “rape is the ultimate high T (high-testosterone) flex.” Users identifying as “femboys,” a term meant to describe men who present themselves in a feminine manner, were often harassed in their DMs. In one instance, someone repeatedly sent slurs to a self-identifying femboy. In a different interaction, one user called a femboy a “troon” and a “tranny,” both harmful slurs meant to demean the trans community. When not harassing feminine-presenting men on the platform, users talked to each other about their anti-trans positions through the use of slurs and other forms of hatred directed at the LGBTQ+ community.
Doxxing appeared to be a common practice on Poast. For example, user darkeidolon sent a message to shadowman311 claiming to have the name and address of Anonymous Comrade Replicant, who had published an article exposing Graf and Poast itself. Meanwhile, _Trollcow_ also appears to be active in the doxxing community, and openly admitted to doxxing, threatening to dox, and publicly posting sexually explicit pictures of other users. 14Reasons, in a separate conversation, warns another user about getting doxxed due to their role in the “Pro White scene,” with “pro white” being a term commonly used to self-identify as white nationalists by far-right and neo-Nazi organizations like the Proud Boys, White Lives Matter (WLM), and the Aryan Freedom Network (AFN).
While Poast claims to be somewhat moderated, the presence of such harmful material, language, and forms of harassment within the DMs of users demonstrates the role online platforms can have in the radicalization process, and how harmful material spreads attacking marginalized communities. With Twitter seemingly abandoning content moderation, and unregulated forums including Gab and Telegram growing, these problems will continue.