All three of these things, cults, religion, and conspiracy theories using the same techniques that kidnappers and pedophiles use; they depend on isolation and loneliness to take advantage of an individual and indoctrinate them into their movement; everything from Scientology and Mormonism and Evangelistic religions to the Proud Boys and Incels to Jonestown and the Branch Davidians at Waco to the Manson family and Heaven’s Gate to multi-level marketing (MLM’s) as known as pyramid schemes such as Amway and Young Living Oils to anti-vaxxers to QAnon to Keith Raniere’s NXIVM (pronounced NEX-ee-um) self-help group which was nothing more than a sex cult.
Features that recruiters of these kinds of groups look for include a lack of self-confidence, gullibility, desire to belong to a group, naive idealism, and no desire to learn more about the group inviting them to join.
While most of these groups depended on one-on-one recruitments fact-to-face, these days, they use social media; it’s easier and cheaper.
It’s these same tactics that Trumpism and conservative Republicans use to get people to join their ranks.
“White supremacists, militias, men’s rights groups, anti-Muslim agitators and other extremist organizers have created a loosely linked network of multimedia offerings, including videos, podcasts, lectures, articles, and games such as “Black Lives Splatter,” which challenges players to drive their vehicles into as many Black Lives Matter demonstrators as they can.
“The pandemic has meant people have more time, more attention span, and that time is clearly being directed into extremist spaces.
Using tactics adapted from Islamist terrorists — lurking on gaming sites, reaching out to apparently lonely marks with content about games, music, or mixed martial arts — the strategy is to socialize first. They add in statistics about demographic change in the U.S., then jokes, memes, and deeper into the ideology.
Joining such groups involves extreme ideas, “but members say they got in because ‘there were people who were being nice to me.'”
As newcomers become more involved, they discover increasingly explicit memes, videos, and messages.
What members are searching for, like all of us, is identity, community, and purpose.”