Extremist Content Online: TamTam Edition

(New York, N.Y.) The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) reports weekly on the methods used by extremists to spread propaganda, recruit followers, and incite violence on popular social media platforms in order to hold companies accountable for failures to prevent the dissemination of extremist and terrorist content.

On November 16, CEP researchers located thirteen channels on the TamTam messenger platform that promoted neo-Nazi accelerationism and acts of terrorism, including bomb-making and other activities meant to create “a climate of anxiety” and fear. TamTam is a communications app owned by the Russian company Odnoklassniki Ltd, which is, in turn, owned by the Russian social media company VK. Both the extreme-right and pro-ISIS supporters migrated to TamTam after various crackdowns by Telegram, with one poster claiming that TamTam doesn’t remove content.

The channels, which were previously located on Telegram and part of the “Terrorgram” community, posted a series of guides on how to make explosives, the manifestos of several white supremacist mass shooters, videos from several neo-Nazi groups, including the Atomwaffen Division, the National Socialist Order, The Base, and Feuerkrieg Division, and a recently released propaganda video that encourages acts of terrorism and praises individuals who have committed acts of white supremacist violence, referring to them as “saints.” At least seven channels posted a neo-Nazi accelerationist book that calls for lone actor violence, workplace violence, attacks on infrastructure, law enforcement, politicians, people of color, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Latinos, and LGBT people. The book also includes information on making homemade bombs, conducting surveillance, and other information helpful in committing attacks.

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Atomwaffen Division Propaganda on TamTam, screenshot taken on November 17.

A user posted in mid-November that the group of channels was moving from Telegram to TamTam because the latter does not remove content. Telegram began removing some extreme-right users that advocate violence in January 2021, including multiple “Terrogram” accounts. While neo-Nazi content, including advocating for violence, instructional manuals, and propaganda glorifying mass shooters, continues to exist on Telegram, these specific channels are often eventually removed after they are created. A Telegram channel that is part of the same online ideological sphere as the TamTam channels stated that it was essential to spread propaganda to create “a climate of anxiety” and fear on all possible online platforms. In April 2020, a similar white supremacist accelerationist channel created a TamTam channel allegedly as a backup for Telegram content, however, it was never fully utilized.

After the Telegram-Europol crackdown on ISIS content on the platform in November 2019, ISIS propagandists similarly moved to TamTam. The company quickly removed many pro-ISIS channels shortly after the app saw an influx of pro-ISIS users. While there is still a limited pro-ISIS presence on TamTam, multiple supporters of the terrorist group have stated that the app is unsafe, citing privacy and operations security concerns.

The 13 neo-Nazi TamTam channels had an average of 81 followers. Three were created in November 2022, one in August, six in July, two in June, and one in May. TamTam prohibits using the messenger service to “promote” or “call for violence and… illegal and immoral acts,” as well as promoting “extremism, terrorism,” or hate based on race, “sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious opinions.”

CEP reported the channels to TamTam on November 16, but they were still accessible almost 48 hours later.

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On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.

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