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November 3, 2015 1

“Telegram” is Latest Platform for Terror Propaganda

ISIS propaganda on the Telegram app

ISIS pro­pa­ganda on the Telegram app

Update — 11/19/2015: Telegram updated its terms of ser­vice to include a means for remov­ing ille­gal pub­lic con­tent on Novem­ber 18, 2015 and has since removed mul­ti­ple ISIS chan­nels from its platform.

As the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other ter­ror groups con­tinue to seek out new plat­forms to broad­cast their pro­pa­ganda and con­nect with sup­port­ers, they have migrated to using Telegram, a chat and group appli­ca­tion avail­able for smart­phones and desk­top, as their pri­mary medium for offi­cial propaganda.

Ter­ror sup­port­ers con­tinue to share and dis­sem­i­nate pro­pa­ganda on Twit­ter, Face­book and other tra­di­tional social media plat­forms. How­ever, the terms of ser­vice on those plat­forms reject users who actively encour­age vio­lent extrem­ism and the plat­forms have been very active in remov­ing con­tent and users flagged for vio­la­tions of those terms of ser­vice. Offi­cial ter­ror­ist accounts have there­fore found them fully inhos­pitable, and even the accounts of ter­ror­ist sup­port­ers are reg­u­larly removed.

Accord­ing to Telegram’s terms of ser­vice, how­ever, “All Telegram chats and group chats are pri­vate ter­ri­tory of their respec­tive par­tic­i­pants and we do not process any requests related to them.” As such, the plat­form does not have effec­tive poli­cies pro­hibit­ing extrem­ist speech.  That envi­ron­ment has enabled offi­cial ter­ror­ist chan­nels to use Telegram as the first point of dis­sem­i­na­tion for offi­cial ISIS pro­pa­ganda and for Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), an Al Qaeda affil­i­ated media organization.

Users can join groups on Telegram that func­tion sim­i­larly to Twit­ter feeds, releas­ing a steady stream of con­tent orig­i­nated by the group’s owner. Among the groups cur­rently oper­at­ing on Telegram are more than 13 offi­cial ISIS accounts in mul­ti­ple lan­guages includ­ing Ara­bic, Eng­lish, French and Ger­man, an offi­cial English-language account for the GIMF, and sev­eral unof­fi­cial pro-ISIS pro­pa­ganda groups.

The English-language accounts cre­ated on Telegram include Khi­lafah News, a pro-ISIS account that boasts 2023 mem­bers; Nashir Eng­lish, an offi­cial ISIS account, with 1352 mem­bers; and an offi­cial GIMF account with 1129 members.

Among the mate­ri­als that have been released on Telegram are the sec­ond issue of a new English-language Al Qaeda mag­a­zine, Al Risalah, which calls on West­ern­ers to join and fight on behalf of Al Qaeda.

The ISIS English-language Telegram account Nashir Eng­lish also directs read­ers to find and down­load pro­pa­ganda on a site on Word­Press. Like Telegram, WordPress’s terms of ser­vice do not explic­itly pro­hibit extrem­ist pro­pa­ganda, and so ISIS and other ter­ror­ist  groups can exploit the web­site with­out fear of being taken down. The new Word­Press site linked from the Telegram account fea­tures all of ISIS’s most recent pro­pa­ganda releases as well as ‘major releases,’ ‘Top 10 Videos,’ and past issues of ISIS’s English-language mag­a­zine, Dabiq. The Eng­lish site also links to equiv­a­lent Word­Press sites in Ger­man, Bosn­ian and Ara­bic. Addi­tional links from the Eng­lish site to equiv­a­lent sites in other lan­guages on Blogspot, which is hosted by Google, were removed after ADL noti­fied Google of their presence.

The Word­Press site empha­sizes ISIS’s ongo­ing pres­ence on Twit­ter and lists Twit­ter hash­tags that cor­re­spond with offi­cial ISIS pro­pa­ganda material.

In addi­tion to main­tain­ing groups on Telegram, ter­ror orga­ni­za­tions are also able to engage in chats with sup­port­ers and poten­tial recruits. The encour­age­ment of active par­tic­i­pa­tion by sup­port­ers engages the sup­port­ers in dia­logue with hard­ened extrem­ists, fur­ther­ing the sup­port­ers’ rad­i­cal­iza­tion processes.

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February 12, 2015 3

The Right to Be Forgotten Has No Place in the U.S.

right-to-be-forgottenThe right to be forgotten—the right of Inter­net users to request that search engines remove links to out­dated or embar­rass­ing infor­ma­tion about them­selves from search results—is once more in the head­lines in Europe. Recently, fol­low­ing up on a pre­vi­ous Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice rul­ing that indi­vid­u­als have the right to ask search engines to remove links to “inad­e­quate, irrel­e­vant, or no longer rel­e­vant” infor­ma­tion about them­selves online, Euro­pean reg­u­la­tors and judges have called for Google and other search engines to apply the Right to Be For­got­ten around the world, regard­less of which coun­try the search engine serves and where the search takes place. How­ever, the Advi­sory Coun­cil that Google appointed to look into the issue has rec­om­mended that Google limit its response to European-directed search ser­vices, such as (used in France) and (used in Ger­many) and not extend it out­side the Euro­pean Union. That Coun­cil, in a new report, found that there is “a com­pet­ing inter­est on the part of users out­side of Europe to access infor­ma­tion via a name-based search in accor­dance with the laws of their coun­try, which may be in con­flict with the delist­ings afforded by the rul­ing.”  ADL agrees with their recommendation.

Last Novem­ber the Anti-Defamation League adopted a pol­icy posi­tion that “indi­vid­u­als should not have the right to have links to old and/or embar­rass­ing infor­ma­tion about them­selves removed from Inter­net search results.” Doing so is tan­ta­mount to tak­ing a scalpel to library books, allow­ing peo­ple to tear from pub­lic record things about them­selves from the past that they sim­ply do not like. The Right to Be For­got­ten could allow, for exam­ple, a white suprema­cist to erase all traces of his his­tory of big­oted rhetoric before run­ning for pub­lic office, deny­ing the pub­lic access to make a fully informed decision.

The Inter­net has pro­vided the largest and most robust mar­ket­place of ideas in his­tory, open­ing lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion around the world. As the Inter­net brings the world closer, how­ever, coun­tries must be cog­nizant of the impact that their laws and reg­u­la­tions have in other parts of the world. In the United States the First Amend­ment pro­vides much stronger pro­tec­tions for free speech than the laws do in Europe. Amer­i­cans, and search engines based in the United States, should con­tinue to respect the laws and found­ing prin­ci­ples of our coun­try, deny­ing the right to be for­got­ten here.

El Dere­cho a Ser Olvi­dado No Tiene Lugar en Esta­dos Unidos

El dere­cho a ser olvi­dado —el dere­cho de los usuar­ios de Inter­net a solic­i­tar que los motores de búsqueda elim­i­nen de los resul­ta­dos de búsqueda los vín­cu­los a infor­ma­ción desac­tu­al­izada o ver­gonzosa sobre sí mis­mos— está una vez más en los tit­u­lares europeos. Recien­te­mente, a con­se­cuen­cia de un fallo ante­rior de un tri­bunal de jus­ti­cia europeo según el cual los indi­vid­uos tienen el dere­cho de pedir que los motores de búsqueda elim­i­nen los enlaces a infor­ma­ción en línea “inade­cuada, irrel­e­vante o no per­ti­nente” sobre sí mis­mos, los jue­ces y reg­u­ladores europeos han pedido a Google y otros motores de búsqueda aplicar el dere­cho a ser olvi­dado alrede­dor del mundo, inde­pen­di­en­te­mente del país del bus­cador y de donde se real­iza la búsqueda. Sin embargo, el Con­sejo Asesor que designó Google para inves­ti­gar el tema, ha recomen­dado que Google lim­ite su respuesta a los ser­vi­cios de búsqueda enfo­ca­dos a Europa especí­fi­ca­mente, como (uti­lizado en Fran­cia) y (usado en Ale­ma­nia), y que no la aplique fuera de la Unión Euro­pea. El mismo Con­sejo, en un nuevo informe, encon­tró que hay “un interés con­flic­tivo de parte de los usuar­ios fuera de Europa por acceder a la infor­ma­ción medi­ante una búsqueda basada en el nom­bre de con­formi­dad con las leyes de su país, que pueden estar en con­flicto con la opción de elim­i­nación ofre­cida por la sen­ten­cia”. La ADL está de acuerdo con su recomendación.

En noviem­bre pasado la Liga Antid­ifamación adoptó una posi­ción política según la cual “las per­sonas no deberían tener el dere­cho a que los enlaces a infor­ma­ción vieja o ver­gonzosa sobre sí mis­mos sean elim­i­na­dos de los resul­ta­dos de búsqueda en Inter­net”. Hac­erlo equiv­al­dría a aplicar un bis­turí a libros de la bib­lioteca, per­mi­tiendo a la gente arran­car de los archivos públi­cos cosas sobre sí mis­mos que sim­ple­mente no les gus­tan. El Dere­cho a Ser Olvi­dado podría per­mi­tir, por ejem­plo, que un supremacista blanco bor­rara todos los ras­tros de su his­to­ria de retórica intol­er­ante antes de pos­tu­larse para car­gos públi­cos, negando al público la posi­bil­i­dad de tomar una decisión com­ple­ta­mente informada.

Inter­net ha pro­por­cionado el mer­cado más grande y robusto de ideas en la his­to­ria, abriendo líneas de comu­ni­cación alrede­dor del mundo. Sin embargo, a medida que Inter­net acerca al mundo, los países deben ser con­scientes del impacto que sus leyes y reg­u­la­ciones tienen en otras partes del mundo. En Esta­dos Unidos, la Primera Enmienda pro­por­ciona garan­tías a la lib­er­tad de expre­sión mucho más fuertes que las leyes en Europa. Los esta­dounidenses y los motores de búsqueda con sede en Esta­dos Unidos deben seguir respetando las leyes y prin­ci­p­ios fun­da­cionales de nue­stro país, negando el dere­cho a ser olvidados.


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July 16, 2014 2

Hamas’s Ongoing Social Media War

Update: July 17 — Since this blog was posted, the Al Aqsa Today, Quds TVandIzzat Al Risheq Face­book pages are no longer available.

As Hamas con­tin­ues to tar­get Israelis with rock­ets from Gaza, the Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion is using a range of Inter­net and social media plat­forms to dis­sem­i­nate its pro­pa­ganda, news and updates.hamas-social-media-twitter-facebook-youtube-rockets

The fol­low­ing is a sam­pling of Twit­ter han­dles, YouTube chan­nels, Face­book pages, Google+ pages and other online plat­forms being exploited by Hamas. While some Inter­net plat­forms have made efforts to cur­tail these efforts in the past by remov­ing Hamas-run accounts, the ter­ror­ist group con­tin­ues to actively engage on all of these sites.

In addi­tion to these accounts, there are count­less oth­ers oper­ated by sup­port­ers of the ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion and in var­i­ous languages.

The ADL’s Cyber-Safety Action Guide enables the com­mu­nity to reg­is­ter con­cerns with Inter­net ser­vice providers when they encounter ter­ror­ist con­tent such as this.

 Hamas Media Office

The Hamas press office and Infor­ma­tion Agency. In addi­tion to its web­site, it has active pres­ence on Twitter.

  • Media Office – Hamas The Twit­ter han­dle for the Hamas Media Office.  It is cross-linked with the Twit­ter feeds of senior Hamas polit­i­cal leaders.

Izzedeen al-Qassam Brigades

The Izzedeen al-Qassam Brigades (short­ened to ‘Qas­sam Brigades’) is the Hamas mil­i­tary wing. This is the wing of Hamas that has stock­piled and devel­oped weapons includ­ing rock­ets and drones and is fir­ing them at Israel. In addi­tion to web­sites in Ara­bic, Hebrew and Eng­lish, the Qas­sam Brigades has active pres­ence on Twit­ter, YouTube and Google+.

  • Qas­sam Media The Twit­ter han­dle for the Qas­sam Brigades. Vis­i­tors are directed to this page via link from the Qas­sam Brigades website.
  • Al-Qassam Brigades The Hebrew-language Twit­ter han­dle for the Qas­sam Brigades. It is also some­times retweeted by the Ara­bic Qas­sam Brigades feed. Vis­i­tors are directed to this page via link from the Hebrew lan­guage Qas­sam Brigades website.
  • Resis­tance MediaThe Google+ Page for the Qas­sam Brigades. It is cross-linked and shares con­tent with the Qas­sam Brigades’ Resis­tance Media YouTube channel.
  • Resis­tance Media– The YouTube chan­nel for the Qas­sam Brigades. The Qas­sam Brigades web­site directs vis­i­tors to this chan­nel via link. Many of the videos have Eng­lish titles.
  • Pales­tine IntifadaYouTube chan­nel appar­ently linked to Hamas and the Qas­sam Brigades. Most, if not all videos on this chan­nel are offi­cial Qas­sam Brigades videos. They have been Tweeted by offi­cial Qas­sam Brigades twit­ter accounts

Izzat Al Risheq

Izzat Al Risheq is a Hamas spokesman and senior offi­cial. There are active Face­book and Twit­ter accounts in his name.

  • Izzat Al RisheqThe Face­book page for Izaat Al Risheq. It fea­tures the same con­tent as his Twit­ter feed.
  • Izzat Risheq The Twit­ter han­dle for Izaat Al Risheq. This is one of only two accounts that the Hamas Twit­ter account follows.

Al Aqsa TV

Al Aqsa TV is a Hamas-run tele­vi­sion sta­tion that pro­motes ter­ror­ist activ­ity and incites hatred of Jews and Israelis. In addi­tion to its web­site, it has active pres­ence on Face­book, Twit­ter and YouTube.

  • Al Aqsa Today – The Face­book page for Al Aqsa TV. The Al Aqsa TV web­site directs vis­i­tors to this page via link.
  • Al Aqsa TV Chanel The Twit­ter han­dle for Al Aqsa TV. The Al Aqsa TV web­site directs vis­i­tors to this han­dle via link.
  • Alaqsa TVChan­nelYouTube chan­nel for Al Aqsa TV. Vis­i­tors are directed to this link from the Al Aqsa TV website.

Al Quds TV

Al Quds TV is a Hamas-run tele­vi­sion sta­tion that pro­motes ter­ror­ist activ­ity and incites hatred of Jews and Israelis. In addi­tion to its web­site, it has active pres­ence on Face­book and YouTube.

  • Quds TVThe Face­book page for Al Quds TV. The Al Quds TV web­site directs vis­i­tors to this page via link.
  • Quds TVSatYouTube chan­nel for Al Quds TV. Vis­i­tors are directed to this link from the Al Quds TV website.

Alray Media Agency

The Alray Media Agency is a Hamas affil­i­ated media agency owned by the Gaza-based Infor­ma­tion Office of the Pales­tin­ian Gov­ern­ment. In addi­tion to its web­site, it has active pres­ence on Face­book, Twit­ter and YouTube as well as an appli­ca­tion avail­able on ITunes and Google Play.

  • Alray Media AgencyThe Face­book page for Alray Media Agency. The Alray Media web­site directs vis­i­tors to this page via link.
  • Alray Media AgencyThe Twit­ter han­dle­for Alray Media Agency. The Alray Media web­site directs vis­i­tors to this page via link.
  • AlraypsenThe YouTube chan­nel for Alray Media Agency. The Alray Media web­site directs vis­i­tors to this page via link.
  • AlRay Pales­tin­ian Media Agency – An appli­ca­tion for ITunes and Google Play devel­oped by the Hamas Min­istry of Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion and Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy. The appli­ca­tion claims to be for “a Pales­tin­ian media agency speak­ing in the name of the Pales­tin­ian gov­ern­ment, it expresses the opin­ion of the glo­ri­ous Pales­tin­ian peo­ple, deals with their con­cerns and adopts their causes and posi­tions.” It is adver­tised on the Alray website.

Min­istry of Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion and Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy (MTIT)

The MTIT is a Gaza-based Pales­tin­ian gov­ern­ment agency. Due to its loca­tion in Gaza, its pri­mary affil­i­a­tion is there­fore assumed to be to Hamas (despite the recent Pales­tin­ian unity pact).

  • Elec­tronic Infor­ma­tion –An appli­ca­tion from the Hamas Min­istry of Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion and Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy (MTIT) that “allows gov­ern­ment employ­ees in Gaza to inquire about mail pay­ments, salaries and other ser­vices.” It is adver­tised on the MTIT website.
  • Dalely-Palestinian Orgs Guide –An appli­ca­tion from the Hamas MTIT that pro­vides a direc­tory to com­mu­ni­cate with var­i­ous gov­ern­men­tal and non-governmental orga­ni­za­tions in Gaza includ­ing Hamas gov­ern­ment apparatus.

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