Brenton Tarrant, the notorious Australian white supremacist who carried out the 2019 Christchurch mosque terror attacks that killed 51 people in New Zealand, is expected to be sentenced to life in prison later this month—the first life sentence to ever be handed down in the nation’s modern history. Tarrant livestreamed his attack on Facebook before it spread to other sites on the Internet. Video of the attack was reuploaded millions of times across the entire Internet. On Facebook alone, it was reuploaded 1.5 million times.
Extremist groups spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have moved away from popular social media platforms to other sites to sow discord and disperse their radical ideologies. Extremists are increasingly favoring alternatives such as Google Drive and Internet Archive over major social media platforms in order to avoid detection and takedowns of their violent propaganda and misinformation campaigns. This shift in tactics calls into question the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism’s (GIFCT) efficacy, which was created by the tech industry to prevent extremists from misusing sites across the Internet.
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. This week, white supremacists on Telegram channels and chan-style message boards blamed Jews, Israel and China for COVID-19 and shared a meme encouraging those who have the virus to spread it to religious minorities. Additionally, on Telegram and chan-style message boards, white supremacists celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Christchurch terror attack and advocated for further violence. A neo-Nazi Telegram channel urged for attacks on Jews, donors to pro-immigrant organizations and individuals that are “anti-white,” and a neo-Nazi Internet security group released a cyber security manual with instructions on protecting one’s online information and identity. Also, CEP researchers located seven uploads of a notorious neo-Nazi National Action propaganda video on the BitChute video streaming platform. ISIS released a propaganda video to numerous web platforms titled “Defeated by Their Enemy” from the extremist group’s self-proclaimed Kirkuk province in Iraq. Finally, ISIS’s Al Hayat Media Center released an Urdu nasheed seeking to further exacerbate tensions between Hindus and Muslims in India.
The tragic murder of 51 people at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Center in Christchurch, New Zealand one year ago shocked the world. The gunman livestreamed his attack on Facebook—the video of which continues to be re-uploaded across the Internet. Sadly, the Christchurch video remains a case study of how sites and platforms continue to be misused by extremists, especially when tech companies fail to take the steps necessary to prevent the hosting or broadcasting of extremist content.
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. This week, a suspect was arrested by New Zealand law enforcement for uploading an image on a Telegram channel dedicated to Brenton Tarrant that threatened worshipers at the the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. Also, CEP found three ISIS propaganda websites, including one on the Tumblr platform. Additionally, an ISIS video titled “Answering the Call #3”, which calls for Muslims in East Africa to join ISIS, was uploaded from the self-proclaimed province in Somalia and is still available on numerous media platforms.
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. This week, CEP located a profile on the gaming distribution service and social network Steam that either belongs to Christchurch shooter Brenton Tarrant, or is a replica of his account. Additionally, a pro-ISIS affiliate group released a new online magazine for the India region calling for violence. Also, five alleged Atomwaffen Division (AWD) members were arrested, resulting in far-right Telegram groups criticizing the formation of groups like AWD due to the risk of being apprehended for taking illegal actions. Four white supremacist Telegram channels were removed, including one notorious for dispersing accelerationist content inciting violence, however all four channels were either reinstated or were replaced. CEP also located German AWD propaganda on the Imgur and ibb.co platforms. Finally, an anti-Semitic Telegram account opened profiles on Twitter, Facebook, Gab and Parler.
On March 15, 2019, alleged gunman Brenton Tarrant attacked the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch, killing 51 and wounding dozens of others. It was the worst terrorist attack in New Zealand’s history....
CEP reports weekly on the methods used by extremists to exploit the Internet and social media platforms to recruit followers and incite violence. This week’s edition finds that videos from the Christchurch terror attack are still being uploaded online. Further, ISIS content and propaganda is found on nearly two dozen platforms.