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Consultancy Report 276 views 79 downloads

Remove, Impede, Disrupt, Redirect: Understanding & Combating Pro-Islamic State Use of File-Sharing Platforms

Stuart Macdonald Orcid Logo, Joost S., Connor Rees

Swansea University Authors: Stuart Macdonald Orcid Logo, Connor Rees

DOI (Published version): 10.37805/ogrr2022.1

Abstract

In the face of content takedown and account suspensions on the biggest social media platforms, terrorist groups and their supporters have resorted to the use of file-sharing sites to ensure stable access to their propaganda. Amongst those to have employed this strategy are supporters of the so-calle...

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Published: Washington, DC RESOLVE Network 2022
Online Access: http://dx.doi.org/10.37805/ogrr2022.1
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa59645
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Abstract: In the face of content takedown and account suspensions on the biggest social media platforms, terrorist groups and their supporters have resorted to the use of file-sharing sites to ensure stable access to their propaganda. Amongst those to have employed this strategy are supporters of the so-called Islamic State (IS). Yet, whilst studies have repeatedly highlighted the key role that file-sharing platforms play in the dissemination of IS propaganda, there has been little investigation of the strategic considerations that may influence the choice of file-sharing sites from the many available. To address this, this report uses data gathered from 13 public IS Telegram channels over a 45-day period in July-September 2021 to assess three possible strategic considerations: the features offered by different file-sharing sites (such as data storage capacity, maximum upload size, and password file protection); a platform’s enforcement activity; and, the ability to generate large banks of URLs quickly and conveniently. Based on these findings, the report proposes a four-pronged strategy to combat the exploitation of file-sharing sites by supporters of IS and other terrorist groups: remove terrorist content at the point of upload; impede the automated generation and dissemination of banks of URLs; disrupt the posting of these URLs on other platforms; and, redirect users to other content and support services.
Keywords: Terrorism, counterterrorism, Islamic State, social media, online, propaganda
College: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Funders: This report was produced as part of a project funded by HEFCW via the Research Wales Innovation Fund