Workshop Proceedings of the 18th International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media

Workshop: CySoc 2024: 5th International Workshop on Cyber Social Threats

DOI: 10.36190/2024.08

Published: 2024-06-01
A Data-Driven Analysis of Sovereign Citizens Movement on Telegram
Satrio Yudhoatmojo, Utkucan Balci, Jeremy Blackburn

Web communities of known extremist groups like the alt-right group and QAnon have been well explored in past work. However, we find that an extremist group called Sovereign Citizens is relatively unexplored despite its existence since the 1970s. Their main belief is delegitimizing the established government with a well-known tactic called paper terrorism, clogging courts with pseudolegal claims. In recent years, their activities have escalated to threats like self-claiming a property and participating in the Capitol Riot. The past work of this group focused on paper terrorism, leaving their activities on the Web unexplored. This paper aims to fill the gap by examining two Sovereign Citizens channels on Telegram. We collect over 888K text messages and apply NLP techniques. Our findings show that the two channels differ in the topics they discussed, demonstrating different focuses. Further, the two channels exhibit less toxic content compared to common extremist groups like QAnon. Finally, we find indications of overlapping beliefs between the two channels with QAnon, suggesting a merging or complementing of beliefs. Overall, our work emphasizes the need to scrutinize their activities further across various online platforms and devise better moderation strategies.