FBI documents associate internet slang like ‘based’ and ‘red pill’ with ‘extremism’


New documents released Monday warned that common internet lingo is being associated with “Violent Extremism” by the FBI.

The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project said it used a Freedom of Information Act request to expose FBI documents that include glossaries showing that common internet slang has been flagged as an indication of “Involuntary Celibate Violent Extremism” or “Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremism.”

Part of the document refers specifically to “incels,” or those “involuntary celibate,” whom the “threat overview” describes as possibly seeking to “commit violence in support of their beliefs that society unjustly denies them sexual or romantic attention, to which they believe they are entitled.” The assessment notes, “While most incels do not engage in violence,” some have been involved in “at least five lethal attacks in the United States and Canada.

Many of the terms mentioned in the FBI’s list of incel terminology are either widely used across the internet or innocuous in nature.

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The FBI seal is displayed on a podium before a news conference at the agency's headquarters in Washington. 

The FBI seal is displayed on a podium before a news conference at the agency’s headquarters in Washington.  (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

The one term in the glossary is “Red Pill,” which comes from the 1999 film “The Matrix” and has been used a metaphor for seeing hidden or politically incorrect truths about the modern world, particularly when it comes to politics or dating. The FBI list of key terms defines it as “a belief shared by many online communities that society is corrupt, and that the believer is a victim of this corruption.”

Many of the terms listed are focused on self-improvement or the struggle to reckon with the marketplace of modern dating.

The glossary defines the term “Chad” as a “Race -specific term used to describe the idealized version of a male, who is very successful at getting sexual and romantic attention from women,” later noting, “incels unsuccessfully compete against Chads for attention.”

The list also included the term “Looksmaxxing” which is defined in the document as the “process of self-improvement with the intent to become more attractive.” 

There are many terms associated with self-pity rather than violence, such as saying “It’s Over” to convey “the hopelessness of being an incel” or referring to a “heightcel” or “baldcel” to define people with short stature or baldness, respectively.

The FBI has been criticized as being politicized, including for its raid of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home.

The FBI has been criticized as being politicized, including for its raid of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. (Fox News)

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The FBI list for terms associated with “Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremism” (RMVE) has a mix of extreme terms and innocuous ones. 

“Red Pill” also appears in this list, but with a different description: “In the context of RMVE ideology, taking the red pill or becoming ‘redpilled’ indicates the adoption of racist, anti-Semitic, or fascist beliefs.”

“Based” is defined by the FBI as a word used to “refer to someone who has been converted to racist ideology, or as a way of indicating ideological agreement.” In regular parlance, based is a context-specific word coined by rapper Lil B that can mean, as KnowYourMeme describes, anything ranging from “something that is ‘agreeable’ and ‘cool,’” to something “considered anti-woke.”

The list also includes the term “LARPing,” which was originally used to describe people engaged in live-action roleplay, often as characters in high-fantasy settings. In a political context, the term can be used for people with an impractical or improbable political vision, such as imagining a monarchist future for the United States. 

The FBI glossary says the term is used to “deride individuals accused of not being as extreme, or in possession of skills or other valued characteristics they claim to have.”

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The FBI declined to comment when reached out by Fox News Digital. 



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