(Image: Twitter)

Many Trump supporters have turned to the encrypted app Telegram as an ongoing contact point, as major tech companies act to limit the spread of the kind of violent rhetoric that led to the storming of the US Capitol and the deaths of five people.

The indefinite removal of Donald Trump from Twitter and Facebook initially resulted in the migration of Trump supporters to Parler, an alternative platform that is less stringently moderated.

Parler was used by Trump supporters to rally support for the Washington DC riots and to propagate the lie of a stolen election. The platform also featured a remark from Lin Wood, a pro-Trump lawyer, calling for the execution of Vice-President Mike Pence. This has only just been removed.

Over the weekend, Parlerites saw their platform bumped off Google Play (the app store for Android devices) and Apple’s application hub. The site also had its server access to Amazon removed as a result of posts that incited the riot.

This has left Trump supporters with little option but to establish their network on Telegram.

Telegram is the platform of choice for extremist groups, arms dealers and drug traffickers, and has also been used by groups protesting COVID-19 lockdowns in Victoria.

The encrypted platform has a policy of deleting Islamic State-related accounts. It has removed thousands of accounts set up by jihadists so far this year.

Extremist groups use Telegram as an archive for audiovisual and print propaganda, with extensive archives of far-right literature.

Crikey has previously reported that copies of the live-streamed footage of the 2019 Christchurch massacre were available on Telegram.

A January 10 message that appeared on a series of conservative and Trump-aligned accounts points new Telegram users to a curated list of accounts. The list is a “beauty parade” of conservative identities that have nestled themselves snugly on Telegram and includes Donald Trump Jr, Candace Owens, Ben Shapiro, Charlie Kirk and James Woods.

News networks sympathetic to Trumpist rhetoric such as Newsmax, Breitbart and One America News Network were also included on the list. A notable absence is Fox News, the network that is largely credited with inflating Trump’s tyres in the lead up to and during his presidency.

Donald Trump had 88.7 million followers on Twitter before having his account suspended. It remains to be seen how many of those people set up accounts on encrypted services like Telegram to follow his ramblings.