If you use the terms “red-pilled,” “based,” “looksmaxxing,” and even names like “Chad” and “Stacey,” you may just be a violent extremist.
At least, that’s according to the FBI.
It turns out, the FBI has a secret list of flagged terms that it uses internally to possibly indicate an individual’s involvement in “violent extremism,”
This was revealed in documents obtained by The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project.
It’s not just specific phrases that the FBI is watching out for, but also certain words like “cel,” which is short for “incel” or “involuntary celibate.”
According to the FBI, this online community of men believes that they can’t attract women, and as a result, they’re involuntarily celibate. The FBI’s glossary of words also indicates “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism” and a list of “key terms” about “involuntary celibate violent extremism.”
The Oversight Project has tweeted about the FBI’s documents, expressing concern about how the FBI equates protected online speech to violence.
According to the FBI, using common online terms like “based” or “redpilled” are signs of “Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremism.”
Here are some highlights of the common internet terms the FBI thinks could be a sign of extremism.
“Red pilled” is an idea taken from the popular Matrix movies refers to someone taking a path of truth. But, according to the FBI, it could indicate someone who has racist, or fascist beliefs.
The FBI thinks the term “Chad” is a “Race-specific term used to describe an idealized version of a male, who is very successful at gaining sexual and romantic attention from women.”
A “Stacy” is an “Idealized version of a female, who is very successful at gaining sexual and romantic attention from men.” A Stacy chooses Chad over Incels, the FBI notes.
Defined by the FBI as the “process of self-improvement with the intent to become more attractive,” “Looksmaxxing” is apparently another sign of extremism.
Using the term “Based” – often used to describe an option that is grounded, and not “woke,” could be a sign that a person has a “racist ideology,” the FBI believes.
This isn’t the first time a government agency has monitored common language to be a sign of extremism.
Last year, the Department of Homeland Security justified watching online speech by classifying dissenting opinions as “misinformation,” and therefore a possible terror threat.
A 2022 bulletin warned about the, “proliferation of false or misleading narratives, which sow discord or undermine public trust in US government institutions.”
The DHS further stated that there was a, “online environment filled with false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories, and other forms of mis-, dis- and mal-information introduced and/or amplified by foreign and domestic threat actors.”
Last year, a whistleblower leaked a document to Project Veritas showing that the FBI was focusing on election misinformation ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. The document lists what the agency should categorize as “election crimes.”
Among the election crimes highlighted in the documents is “misinformation.” The document defines misinformation as “false or misleading information spread mistakenly or unintentionally.”
Disinformation is also an apparent election “crime,” and is defined as “false or inaccurate information intended to mislead others.”
The FBI says its glossary of terms is not a definitive list of indicators of violent extremism, but rather, it says, a tool to help identify potential threats.
But many of the terms on the FBI’s watchlist can be, and more commonly are, used in a non-extremist context and for popular memes.
The FBI has increasingly been accused of overreach with its monitoring and policing of constitutionally speech.
These latest findings suggest it has no intention of slowing down.