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July 23, 2015

Help Take ISIS Videos Off WordPress

Ansar Khilafah promotes terrorist propaganda on WordPress

Screenshot from the site

The Anti-Defamation League contacted WordPress about a website it hosts that features hundreds of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) propaganda videos, statements and publications.

This particular website includes propaganda released by ISIS and other terror groups in English, French, Turkish, Dutch, Arabic and other languages. Among the hundreds of items on the site are beheading and execution videos, as well as videos and articles encouraging Westerners to travel to join ISIS or to commit attacks on its behalf in their home countries.

Help us urge WordPress to remove this website from its platform. Copy this URL https://ansarkhilafah.wordpress.com and paste it into the WordPress complaint form. Mark it as “abusive” and tell WordPress that it’s NOT OK to support terrorist content.

The propaganda made available by this website comes from various ISIS media outlets, including Al Hayat Media, Al Furqan Media, Al-I’tisam Media and Ajnad Media. The site also has a section for ISIS’ English-language magazine Dabiq.

Ansar Khilafah blog on WordPress features ISIS propaganda

Screenshot from the site

Online repositories of terrorist propaganda are not new. In February 2015, an ISIS supporter created a website called IS-Tube. Similar to the WordPress site, IS-Tube provided access to an archive of searchable ISIS propaganda videos. IS-Tube was hosted on a Google-owned IP bloc, and Google quickly removed the site after ADL notified the company of its presence. Both IS-Tube and the WordPress site appear to have originated in the Netherlands.

In July 2014, ISIS attempted to move its online presence away from Twitter – where its accounts were regularly shut down – to alternate social media platforms Friendica and Quitter. ADL publicized the move and Friendica and Quitter quickly removed all ISIS presence from their platforms.

If you come across such content on other platforms, the ADL’s Cyber-Safety Action Guide provides resources on flagging content directly with host companies.

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November 21, 2014

ISIS Supporters Exploit Mixlr To Broadcast Extremism

Terrorist sympathizers are exploiting the website and application Mixlr to broadcast and discuss their extremist views online. Their use of Mixlr parallels previous efforts by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and its supporters to find and utilize new online platforms for spreading their propaganda.mixlr-isis

Mixlr is a platform that enables users to broadcast live audio “to the world” and to “chat, engage and interact with your listeners in real time.” Mixlr is available online and for smartphones. Users can also log in via Facebook and Twitter.

Supporters of the ISIS have created at least two pages on Mixlr for broadcasting and discussing pro-ISIS material.

The primary account is called Khilafah (Arabic for Caliphate). The station sometimes broadcasts multiple times per day and has a considerable following: The account began broadcasting on October 19, 2014, and had garnered 44,548 “total listens” as of November 20, 2014. Broadcasts cover a variety of ISIS related topics including news updates on ISIS and reports from ISIS supporters around the world.

The Khilafah account has 665 followers who regularly converse on the site during broadcasts. Although much of the chat is mundane (requests to fix the sound quality, for example), some comments demonstrate the users’ extremism. A conversation on November 21, for example, celebrated ISIS’s alleged takeover of the Iraqi city of Ramadi with one commenter writing, “They are driven to the death…we will feed the faith with the blood of their veins.”

This account also has Pro membership status on Mixlr, which enables it to broadcast for an unlimited number of hours per week. This is a paid membership.

The secondary pro-ISIS page, AL7AQ, has only 134 followers, and is likely designed to replace the Khilafah page if it is shut down. That said, there has been some conversation on the AL7AQ page as well.

The pages have an associated Twitter feed that announces upcoming broadcasts and archives previous ones and promotes videos on YouTube that explain how to access the broadcast content. As of November 20, 2014, the Twitter feed had 2,393 followers, most of whom are apparently ISIS supporters based on their comments and account pictures.

The same broadcasts are also available on Paltalk, a program that enables video, voice, and group chats. Paltalk has been exploited by extremists in other instances as well. The Authentic Tauheed Paltalk channel, for example, broadcasts extremist and pro-ISIS messages by radical cleric Abdullah al-Faisal.

In the past, ISIS and its supporters have attempted to use alternative social media sites including Friendica, Diaspora and Quitter in order to keep their information online as their accounts were shut down by Facebook and Twitter. Friendica, Diaspora and Quitter have removed all pro-ISIS pages from their sites, and Twitter and Facebook regularly delete accounts that promote ISIS messages.

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July 23, 2014

ISIS Faces Resistance From Social Media Companies

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has garnered attention for its sophisticated use of social media. While the terrorist group has built on techniques pioneered by other terrorist organizations to spread its messages and recruit followers, social media companies are increasingly shutting down ISIS accounts and frustrating its propaganda distribution mechanisms.

On July 12, ISIS announced that several of its main media accounts would be suspending their use of Twitter in favor of a social media service called Friendica. This came after several weeks during which Twitter shut down ISIS official sites and ISIS replaced them with new ones.

Almost immediately, multiple ISIS supporters joined Friendica to follow the group.

On July 20, the content was deleted from seven of ISIS’s new Friendica sites. Every page on the Friendica website now comes with a banner at the top stating “Islamic State not welcome on friendica.eu.”

On July 20, ISIS tried again, creating accounts on alternate social media sites Quitter and Diaspora. Although the Diaspora accounts remain up, the Quitter accounts were shut down on July 23, replaced with a picture promoting peace and coexistence (see image), a link to a website selling books about Mahatma Gandhi and text in English and Arabic stating, “When you fight evil with evil – evil wins.”isis-quitter-diaspora-twitter-terrorism

In the past week, Twitter also shut down multiple accounts representing ISIS regional commands.

ISIS has already recreated some of its accounts on Twitter. Ale3tisam, an official ISIS media outlet that had unsuccessfully attempted to migrate to Friendica and Quitter, returned to Twitter and created a new account on July 23.  Several of the regional groups have done so as well. There also remain multiple ISIS supporters with Twitter accounts who themselves regularly share official propaganda.

Terrorist organizations are resourceful enough to find new outlets when their accounts are shut down. ISIS has continued to create and distribute media to wide audiences throughout the last three weeks. However, there is no doubt that they also lose platforms and power, facing greater difficulty in spreading their hate. By responding aggressively to terrorist accounts, social media companies have the power to decrease significantly the reach of terrorists’ hateful messages.

Individuals can also aid in the process. ADL’s Cyber-Safety Action Guide enables the community to reg­is­ter con­cerns with Inter­net ser­vice providers when they encounter ter­ror­ist con­tent online.

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