European Centre for Counterterrorism and Intelligence Studies, Germany & Netherlands – ECCI
Extremist Content Online: Instagram Edition
CEP Locates Pro-ISIS And Extreme Right Content On Popular Platform
(New York, N.Y.) — The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) reports weekly on the methods used by extremists to spread propaganda, recruit followers, and incite violence on popular Meta-owned platforms in order to hold the company accountable for failures to prevent the dissemination of extremist and terrorist content.In a sample of content located on Meta-owned Instagram on November 8, CEP located 10 accounts that posted a variety of pro-ISIS content including clips and photos from official ISIS videos and pro-ISIS posts. In addition, 10 extreme right accounts that posted various white supremacist, antisemitic, Holocaust denial, anti-Muslim, and anti-LGBTQ content were also located.
Among the extreme right profiles, one account was for a regional chapter of a Rise Above Movement (RAM) inspired active club, which had over 120 followers. Three other accounts also promoted the active club movement and a clothing brand operated by RAM’s co-founder. The pro-ISIS accounts had between 46 and 919 followers, with an average of 342 followers. The extreme right accounts had between 44 and 534 followers, with an average of 205.CEP researchers reported all 20 accounts to Instagram on November 8. Approximately 48 hours later, seven pro-ISIS accounts and eight extreme right accounts were still online. Two specific propaganda videos were reported to Instagram for violating the website’s policy on “Dangerous Organizations or Individuals,” but they were still online on November 10.
Among the pro-ISIS content, CEP located a clip from the ISIS video “Al-Ramadi: The Epic Battles of Jihad,” originally released in October 2015.The footage features a statement from the British ISIS fighter, Fatlum Shakalu, a.k.a Abu Musa al-Britani, about the importance of fighting before detonating a vehicle rigged with explosives during ISIS’s assault on Ramadi. The video was uploaded to Instagram on October 27, 2022 and had 64 likes 12 days later. An ISIS logo on the top right of the video was obscured in the video upload to evade removal.An extreme right account with 76 followers posted an infamous propaganda video from the British neo-Nazi group National Action. The video was uploaded to Instagram on September 29, 2022 and had 20 likes when it was found on November 8. In 2018, the British Home Affairs Committee criticized YouTube for its failure to prevent uploads of the same propaganda video.