Islamic State strengthens its presence on online messaging apps
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The supporters of the Islamic State have created a multi-language news outlet, Nashir News, on the messaging app Hoop, which the group is using to disseminate a range of news relating to its activities in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
The Islamic State has a considerable presence on social media networks through which it disseminates its ideology as well as glorifies its acts of terror. The IS handles and accounts on social media networking sites also serve as a fertile ground of recruitment for fighters. One such IS propaganda media outlet is the Nashir news agency.
In November 2019, the EU Internet Referral Unit of Europol joined forces with the Eurojust (the EU agency dealing with justice in criminal affairs), 12 Member States and nine digital services companies in the latest attack on IS online propaganda. While 200-300 accounts are taken down in a typical day, 2,076 “terrorist accounts and bots” were removed on November 22 and a further 2,959 on November 23, according to Telegram.
The EU actors focused on the distribution network of Nashir News Agency, which publishes official IS propaganda. Nashir News Agency’s presence on the encrypted messaging app Telegram was degraded in a joint operation by the Europol and Telegram. After this crackdown, IS increased its presence on Tam Tam and Hoop Messenger.
According to counterextremism.com, both TamTam and Hoop Messenger began to take action against the ISIS channels on their platforms, deleting emerging communications networks. Despite the actions of all three platforms, ISIS supporters still maintain a presence on Telegram, RocketChat, TamTam, and Hoop, although it has been significantly reduced overall.
Now, the supporters of the Islamic State have created a multi-language news outlet on the messaging app Hoop, which the group is using to disseminate a range of news relating to its activities in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The outlet, called Nashir News, appears to be a supporter version of the Islamic State’s official Nashir News Agency.
It emerged on Hoop on June 1, with channels in Indonesian, Turkish, and Urdu. Nashir’s appearance on Hoop belatedly follows Nashir’s own switch to the platform in November 2019. As of June 11, Nashir News Indonesian has attracted 75 members, while the Urdu version has 76 members and the Turkish one has 35 members.
The Nashir channels’ activity on Hoop largely centres on republishing content from Nashir News Agency. Since Nashir’s emergence on Hoop, it has reported Islamic State attacks in Afghanistan, Central Africa, Egypt, Iraq, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. The Nashir channels also publish links to the Islamic State’s Arabic-language newsletter.
The Nashir presence on Hoop forms part of the outfit’s broader online footprint. On April 26, Nashir created English-, Indonesian-, Spanish-, Turkish-, and Urdu-language channels on Tech Haven, a pro-Islamic State RocketChat server. Nashir also has a presence on Telegram in the form of English-, Indonesian-, and Urdu-language bot channels. Once the bot channels are switched on, they then provide the user with Nashir’s output in one of those languages.
It is quite imperative for international organisations to decipher the trend of spreading extremism online and take actions to counter it efficiently.
Source: New Delhi Times