Huge library of online Daesh propaganda uncovered

Huge library of online Daesh propaganda uncovered
One of the biggest collections of extremist online material belonging to Daesh has been uncovered by researchers at a London-based anti-extremism think tank. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 04 September 2020

Huge library of online Daesh propaganda uncovered

Huge library of online Daesh propaganda uncovered
  • Most of those visiting the library are 18 to 24-year-old males in the Arab world
  • 40 percent of the traffic comes from social media including YouTube

LONDON: One of the biggest collections of extremist online material belonging to Daesh has been uncovered by researchers at a London-based anti-extremism think tank.
The digital library, which was discovered by the Institute of Strategic Dialogue (ISD), is visited by around 10,000 different visitors per month, the BBC reported.
Most of those visiting the library are 18 to 24-year-old males in the Arab world, with 40 percent of the traffic coming from social media including YouTube.
It contains more than 90,000 items and provides a way to continually add to extremist content on the Internet, the British broadcaster said.
However, taking the material down is proving difficult because it is not stored in a single location.
It continues to grow despite counter-terrorism authorities in Britain and the US being alerted to the growing collection, which was discovered after the death of Daesh chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, in October 2019.
After his death, many social media posts supporting the militant organization contained a short link that led to documents and videos in nine different languages.
They included details of the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017, the 7/7 London bombings in 2005 and the 9/11 attacks in the US.
“[There’s] everything you need to know to plan and carry out an attack,” ISD deputy director Moustafa Ayad, who discovered the archive, told the BBC. “Things that teach you how to be a better terrorist essentially.”
The collection’s data is spread across a decentralized system and anyone can share the content via servers based at multiple locations, researchers discovered.
This makes is hard to take the library offline, and it continues to provide extremist content to its readers.
Researchers found that various methods are used to make the material available online.
Targeting and hijacking Twitter accounts belonging to celebrities and athletes and using them to promote the material is one method.
Another way is to add material to social media comments pages and spreading it via bot accounts.