(New York, N.Y.) – The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) reports weekly on the methods used by extremists to exploit the Internet and social media platforms to recruit followers and incite violence. Last week, CEP researchers located a recent ISIS propaganda video on Facebook that features attacks against the Egyptian armed forces in Sinai, including extensive combat footage and several executions. Also, CEP researchers located two uploads of an ISIS bomb-making video on the Internet Archive that provided instructions on how to manufacture the explosive TATP, which has been used in several terrorist attacks in Europe.
Meanwhile, a white supremacist Telegram channel encouraged attacks on lawmakers—including on their families and at their homes—during the presidential inauguration. Additionally, Telegram removed at least twenty channels belonging to white supremacist and neo-Nazi accelerationist channels that advocated for acts of violence and routinely called for acts of terrorism, including the murder of people of color, Jews, immigrants, LGBT people, and law enforcement officers. Also, on January 11, several white supremacist Telegram channels shared links to Telegram chats for Parler users who switched apps after the latter application became inaccessible.
Additionally, a user of an 8chan successor imageboard on the dark web expressed a desire to commit an attack and was encouraged by other board users to pursue potential attacks on people of color, immigrants, or law enforcement officers. Also, a white supremacist user of the main 8chan successor forum encouraged violence in what he or she stated was a civil war that began with Dylann Roof’s 2015 attack. Finally, a white supremacist Telegram channel posted information on 3D printed firearms, including links to downloadable files for gun designs and tips on printing and improving durability.
Recently Released ISIS Propaganda Video Located on Facebook
On January 13, CEP researchers located a recently released ISIS propaganda video on Facebook. The video, originally released on January 8, shows attacks against the Egyptian armed forces in Sinai and includes extensive combat footage and several executions. The video, uploaded to Facebook on January 10, was online for approximately 72 hours when it was located and had 38 reactions and over 180 comments. Facebook removed the video after it was reported for violating their Community Standards on terrorism, however the account was not removed despite also being reported.
Infamous ISIS Bomb Making Video Located on the Internet Archive
On January 13, CEP researchers located two uploads of an infamous ISIS bomb-making video on the Internet Archive. The video shows how to manufacture the explosive TATP, which has been used in several terrorist attacks in Europe. This specific video has been linked to the May 2017 Manchester Arena bomber, who killed 22 people and injured hundreds more. In addition to providing bomb-making instructions, the video encourages attacks in the West and shows knife tactics on a human target, who is executed in the process. The files were removed quickly by the Internet Archive after being reported.
Neo-Nazi Telegram Channels Encourage Attacks on Lawmakers and Infrastructure During the Presidential Inauguration
In a January 10 post, a white supremacist Telegram channel encouraged attacks on lawmakers outside of Washington, D.C. during the presidential inauguration, including attacks against politicians, their families, and their homes. The channel administrator advised his or her followers to only work with people they already know. The post was viewed over 1,300 times. The channel had approximately 2,400 followers on January 13 and was not one of the channels targeted for removal by Telegram between January 12 and 19.
On January 11, a prominent neo-Nazi accelerationist channel with approximately 3,900 members that has frequently advocated for acts of terrorism shared several posts urging their audience to kill local officials. Both channels were removed by Telegram on January 13 and January 14, however, a linked announcement channel for announcing the next Telegram location remains online.
Telegram Removes Select Neo-Nazi Channels
Between January 12 and January 16, Telegram removed at least 31 channels belonging to far-right, white supremacist, and neo-Nazi accelerationist channels that advocated for acts of violence. Several of the accounts removed had thousands of subscribers and routinely called for acts of terrorism, including the murder of people of color, Jews, immigrants, LGBT people, and law enforcement officers. By January 14, at least nine of the removed channels had created alternate or backup channels to continue posting content, however, with smaller audiences. At least one additional channel removed by Telegram already had a channel in place for announcing its next location.
The removals occurred started on January 12, and continued over several days, allowing channel administrators time to back up content, create alternate accounts, and share advice on information security. At least one channel was created for the specific purpose of sharing which accounts had been deleted by Telegram and the addresses of backup channels. A neo-Nazi Telegram channel dedicated to information security shared information on how to archive channels and improve Telegram channels’ security. The post on archiving channels was viewed over 15,000 times after being online for approximately 48 hours.
In the past, Telegram has taken minimal action against white supremacist and neo-Nazi users of their service who have encouraged terrorist acts. In November 2020, Telegram did not remove a neo-Nazi channel spreading bomb-making guides for a week until Vice published an article about it. Additionally, a notorious neo-Nazi accelerationist channel that routinely advocates for violence and supports neo-Nazi groups such as the Atomwaffen Division and The Base was removed twice and allowed to return until the most recent removal effort. The same channel still operates an account on Telegram used for broadcasting future channel locations. In 2015 Telegram began to take action against ISIS’s use of their app, however supporters of the terrorist group used the platform with moderate interference until November 2019 when Telegram and Europol conducted a campaign to remove ISIS chats, channels, bots, and users.
A neo-Nazi accelerationist channel removed by Telegram on January 12
White Supremacists Telegram Channels Encourage Spreading Propaganda to Further Radicalize New Telegram Users
On January 11, several white supremacist Telegram channels shared links to Telegram chats for Parler users who switched apps after the latter application became inaccessible. The white supremacist channels urged subtly and offered talking points for users attempting to spread white supremacist anti-government and accelerationist ideas.
Users of 8chan Successor Website Encourage Poster to Commit Attack
On January 13, a user of an 8chan successor imageboard on the dark web expressed a desire to commit an attack and was encouraged by other board users. The thread discussed potential attacks on people of color, immigrants, or law enforcement officers. The imageboard, which explicitly endorses fascism and white supremacist violence, was created in February 2019 in order to be more extreme than 8chan’s “politically incorrect” imageboard.
4chan and 8chan Successor Website Forum Users State Civil War Has Already Begun, Encourage Attacks
On January 12, a white supremacist user of the main 8chan successor forum encouraged violence in what he or she stated was a civil war that began with Dylann Roof’s 2015 attack. The January 6 attack on the Capitol Building was cited as another salvo, and the poster encouraged people to prepare and train for war. The post led to arguments in the comments section, where most statements were in support of the original post.
Another user posted links to publicly available bomb-making manuals on the same 8chan successor forum and a 4chan firearms community. Links were posted on the Internet Archive and Mediafire.
White Supremacist Telegram Channel Posts Information on 3D Printing Firearms
On January 12, a white supremacist Telegram channel posted information on 3D printed firearms, including links to downloadable files for gun designs and tips on printing and improving durability. The channel publishes information on weapons, firearms modifications, and gunsmithing and has approximately 2,250 members. The Telegram channel has posted content endorsing white supremacy and acts of violence.
The channel’s original administrator was identified by anti-fascist researchers in June 2020, after he went to counter-protest an anti-police brutality demonstration while armed in Dallas, Texas, on May 30. He allegedly gave up his channel administrator position in August.