Release date: September 11, 2023
Authors: Miro Dittrich, Joe Düker, Martin Müller

The CeMAS report “Where’s The Money At? Right-wing extremist fundraising over Telegram” provides a systematic overview of the fundraising avenues of German-speaking right-wing extremist actors on Telegram. For the report, more than 1,297,000 messages from September 2016 to May 2023 from 419 German-language far-right Telegram channels were analyzed to create a detailed picture of funding mechanisms.

The results show that digitalization enables right-wing extremists to use different ways of acquiring donations in sometimes low-threshold and particularly efficient ways: From conventional IBANs, PayPal accounts, crowdfunding and livestream platforms to modern payment methods such as cryptocurrencies, right-wing extremists use a whole range of transaction methods to generate donations. This financial support plays a central role in strengthening right-wing extremist networks. In order to organize their activities and spread their inhumane ideology, right-wing extremists need money, which is readily made available to them from their supporter networks. The financial resources are also used, among other things, to produce propaganda materials, organize and host networking meetings and gatherings, and thus gain new supporters.

The report highlights the need to develop political and regulatory containment options and to increase public pressure to ensure that an important tool for limiting the influence of the extreme right is not left unused: For if financial support opportunities are monitored and prevented at an early stage, the careers of right-wing extremist activists can be significantly curtailed and, in the best case, even prevented.

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