Information operations · Information Warfare · ISIL · ISIS · Islamic State

Islamic State turns to Instagram to push propaganda

by Sean Langille | 

The Islamic State is now using Instagram to push out its propaganda, analysts say.

Researchers say the terror group has turned to Instagram and its “stories” feature to share its message. The stories feature lets users to make posts that are deleted within 24 hours, thus making it more difficult and less worthwhile for authorities to track the posts.

Nearly 50,000 accounts linked to the Islamic State have already been identified since an analysis began earlier this summer, the Associated Press reported. All of those accounts used the “stories” feature to share a propaganda message, according to an analysis conducted by the software research group Ghost Data.

Tech companies are under increasing pressure to identify extremist content and remove it as quickly as possible.

Ahead of meeting between social media companies and foreign leaders on the sidelines of the United Nations’ General Assembly Tuesday, European leaders have called on Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Twitter to develop the tools necessary to remove questionable content within one to two hours of its posting.

“We are making significant progress, but removing all of this content within a few hours — or indeed stopping it from appearing on the internet in the first place — poses an enormous technological and scientific challenge,” Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel, will say in a speech on behalf of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism. The group was established by the four tech giants to work together in an effort to remove extremist content.

The ramped up efforts from social media companies to block extremist content is forcing groups like the Islamic state to seek new methods and other social media channels to spread its message. Twitter announced Tuesday it had suspended nearly 300,000 accounts linked to terrorism.



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