(ISIS supporters’ image)

The Digital Transformations of Al-Qaeda and Islamic State in the Battle Against Online Propaganda

In the face of repeated Europol-led crackdowns, and frequent flagging of content by the EU Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU), government agencies, anonymous users, and outfits specialising in countering terrorist propaganda—on the Telegram messaging application, as well as the frequent use of artificial intelligence to detect and remove terrorist propaganda on mainstream social media sites—terrorist organisations have adapted their propaganda output. Crackdowns and suspensions have forced Islamic State and al-Qaeda to find alternatives. In fact, these efforts to tackle terrorist propaganda online only had a marginal impact and have not considerably affected the overall output and transmission methods.

Islamic State took the lead by temporarily migrating to TamTam, Hoop, Conversation, Riot, and other messaging applications. However, following deletions and bans on these platforms, Islamic State media channels soon returned to Telegram, which remains the most user-friendly alternative—at least for propaganda dissemination by Islamic State and its supporters. Many Islamic State channels on Telegram have been active and free from disruption for the last seven months, and others not monitored by the authors probably longer.

Read more at the Global Network on Extremism and Technology

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