FBI: Internet Slang Like ‘Based,’ ‘Red Pill’ Associated with ‘Extremism’
FBI documents obtained by the Heritage Foundation through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request show the Bureau associating a wide variety of internet slang with “extremism.” According to the FBI, words like “based” and “Chad” are signs of violent extremism.
The glossary of terms can be found in a document about “incels,” or involuntary celibates, and “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism”
The document associates common internet terms like “based,” “red pill,” and “accelerationism” with the latter, while “Chad,” “NEET,” and “it’s over” are associated with the former.
NEW: Docs we obtained show how @FBI equates protected online speech to violence.
According to @FBI using the terms “based” or “red pilled” are signs of "Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremism" pic.twitter.com/JSQiCoiKdT
— Oversight Project (@OversightPR) April 3, 2023
“Based,” per the FBI, is used by racial extremists to refer to “someone who has been converted to racist ideology.”
“Red pill,” according to the document, means someone who has “adopted racist, anti-Semitic, or fascist beliefs.”
“Accellerationism,” according to the FBI, is the view that “the existing social order should be pushed to such a degree that Western countries become failed states, giving rise to changes that would reshape the world in radical ways.”
According to KnowYourMeme, the web’s leading archive of internet slang, the FBI is off the mark on many of these terms.
“Based,” in particular, is in much wider usage, a term deployed by a variety of people of all ideological stripes to refer to things that are agreeable or cool in addition to its more political use as a term for things that are anti-woke.
“Red pill,” also, does not necessarily have ideological connotations. The phrase “red pill me on X,” is a common phrase used by online posters to request explanations on various topics. In the crypto community, it can refer to requests for explanations about obscure cryptocurrency projects.
The document also labels a number of common internet terms as “incel” references.
“It’s over,” a common term, often used ironically for exaggerative effect, is a statement of general pessimism. But for the FBI, it is a reference for “the hopelessness of being an incel.”
“Chad,” a figure who can frequently be found in internet jokes, is also specifically linked to incels for the FBI, in addition to being “race-specific.”
The Daily Signal, the Heritage Foundation’s news organization, attempted to reach the FBI for comment but received no response.