(New York, N.Y.) — The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) reports weekly on the methods used by extremists and terrorist groups on the Internet to spread propaganda and incite violence. Last week, CEP researchers located 10 TikTok accounts that had either posted video footage from the 2019 Christchurch terrorist attack or glorified the shooter and an additional 11 TikTok accounts that promoted white supremacist groups or mass shooters, including the May 2022 Buffalo attacker.
CEP also located three guides for constructing explosives on a white supremacist Telegram channel, including one made by a pro-ISIS group and another guide by an al-Qaeda affiliated group. Additionally, a different pro-ISIS propaganda group recommended using Threema or Session to communicate, both of which offer users end-to-end encryption.
Also last week, a white supremacist Telegram channel known for posting racist, antisemitic, anti-Muslim, and anti-LGBTQ content celebrated reaching 5,000 followers on their associated Twitter/X account. CEP researchers also identified a demo for an antisemitic video game, with a trailer video posted on Twitter/X promoting Jewish stereotypes and conspiracy theories surrounding the Crown Heights tunnel incident.
Finally, a neo-Nazi Telegram channel offered to share messages sent anonymously to former leader of the Atomwaffen Division Brandon Russell, who is currently in jail facing federal criminal charges of conspiracy to destroy an energy facility.
Violent Footage, Accounts Promoting Christchurch Attack and Other Mass Shootings, and Accounts for White Supremacist Active Clubs Located on TikTok
In a sample of content on TikTok located on February 7, CEP researchers found ten accounts that glorified the Christchurch attacker and 11 additional accounts that either made posts supporting white supremacist mass shooters or were linked to the white supremacist Active Club movement or other groups.
The first batch of ten accounts included footage from the Christchurch attack video, including clips that were sped up or put through image filters to reduce the footage to neon red outlines. Other accounts posted photos taken from the attack video or expressed support for the attacker who murdered 51 Muslims. One post, made on January 26, had over 206,000 views and almost 20,000 likes on February 8 and advocated for violence against Muslims and referenced the Christchurch attacker. The ten accounts had an average of 254 followers, ranging between 23 and 1,018. All ten accounts were reported to relevant authorities.
“Social media platforms should aggressively enforce their terms of service and remove videos, photos, memes, and other content promoting the Christchurch terrorist attack. In many cases, this content has been shared with the intent to inspire similar acts of violence,” said CEP researcher Joshua Fisher-Birch. “As we approach the fifth anniversary of the horrific attack, it is troubling that CEP can locate content from the attack video and content promoting the ideologies of white supremacist mass shooters with some regularity on platforms including TikTok.”
CEP researchers also located 11 other extreme right accounts. Two accounts, with 737 and 3,363 followers each, made posts that glorified white supremacist mass shooters. The larger follower account made a post on January 15 consisting of a meme that glorified the May 2022 Buffalo attacker, which had over 360,000 views and 26,000 likes on February 8. Four TikTok accounts were located for Active Club chapters in Ohio, California, and France, and an additional account posted URLs for the broader movement and an affiliated clothing brand. The Active Club accounts had an average of 221 followers, ranging from 9 for an account that first posted on February 4 to 742. Another account was located linked to a white supremacist clothing label previously banned from Instagram, and an additional account posted content supporting Patriot Front. CEP reported the 11 accounts to TikTok on February 7. Only one account, which posted content that promoted white supremacist mass shooters, was removed by February 12.
Photo posted by a TikTok account belonging to an Active Club. Screenshot taken on February 8.
Pro-ISIS and Al-Qaeda Explosives Manuals Located on White Supremacist Telegram Channel
On February 8, CEP researchers located three explosives manuals on Telegram that were uploaded to a white supremacist PDF-sharing channel. The three manuals consisted of a basic explosives guide, instructions for homemade production of TATP published by the pro-ISIS al-Saqri Foundation, and a guide for constructing explosives from the al-Qaeda-affiliated Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF). The Al-Saqri Foundation publishes manuals on the manufacture and use of explosives, poisons, and other weaponry. The al-Qaeda manual was initially released in 2010 by students of the bomb maker Abu Khabab al-Masri. Members of the extreme right have previously shared explosives manuals and videos created by ISIS and other groups. CEP reported the channel to Telegram on February 8, but it was still online on February 12.
Image from al-Saqri TATP guide. Screenshot taken on February 8.
Pro-ISIS Propaganda Group Recommends Communication Through Threema or Session
On February 4, the pro-ISIS propaganda group linked to the organization’s Khorasan branch, al-Azaim Media, recommended communicating with them using Threema or Session. Both apps offer end-to-end encrypted communication. Al-Azaim posted their contact information for both apps via a Telegram bot. On April 3, the pro-ISIS tech group Electronic Horizons Foundation released a Session messenger guide. In May, a different pro-ISIS tech group, Qimam Electronic Foundation, posted a guide for Session and warned that the program is subject to Australian data laws.
White Supremacist Twitter/X Account Celebrates 5,000 Followers
On February 6, a white supremacist Telegram channel celebrated reaching 5,000 followers on their associated Twitter/X account. The account routinely posts racist, antisemitic, anti-Muslim, and anti-LGBTQ content and endorses the Active Club movement, as well as the groups Patriot Front and the Nationalist Social Club. The individuals behind the account are allegedly part of the Canadian neo-Nazi scene. The Twitter/X account was created on December 7.
Shortly after the May 2022 Buffalo attack, the Telegram channel affiliated with the Twitter/X account claimed that media attention on the Great Replacement conspiracy theory, mentioned by the gunman in his manifesto, presented “a tremendous opportunity” to spread propaganda and recruit.
CEP reported the Twitter/X account to the platform on December 15, but it is still online.
Antisemitic post by the Twitter/X account that celebrated over 5,000 followers on February 6. Screenshot taken on February 8.
Demo for Antisemitic Videogame Released, Advertised on TikTok and Twitter/X
A demo was released for an antisemitic video game based on the Crown Heights tunnel incident. The side-scrolling game relies on multiple antisemitic stereotypes and conspiracy theories and includes graffiti in the game claiming that Jews are pedophiles and that “Hitler did nothing wrong.” In addition to extreme antisemitism, the game includes a racist portrayal of African Americans. The website that hosts the game uses Hostinger as its nameserver and registrar.
A video on TikTok promoting the game, posted on January 16, had over 76,000 views on February 8.
A Twitter/X account that promoted the game was removed from the platform for “violent speech” against another user on February 7. A different Twitter/X account, belonging to the same individual previously removed, became active on February 7 and promoted the game. The same account posted antisemitic and pro-Nazi content. A video advertising the game had over 7,400 views within 24 hours.
Neo-Nazi Telegram Channel Offers to Forward Anonymous Messages to Former Atomwaffen Division Leader Brandon Russell
On February 5, a neo-Nazi Telegram channel offered to share messages sent anonymously to the channel with Brandon Russell, the imprisoned former leader of the Atomwaffen Division. The channel made a similar offer in May. Russell is currently in jail, facing charges of conspiracy to destroy an energy facility, along with his co-conspirator, Sarah Beth Clendaniel. Both individuals were accused of planning to attack electrical substations in the Baltimore area and were arrested on February 3, 2023. The February 5 message was likely to mark the first anniversary of Russell’s arrest.
The Telegram message asked the channel’s followers to send “positive words” to a Telegram user, who would allegedly screen each communication and pass it on. The message was shared by approximately one dozen Telegram channels, including a channel connected to a website of former Atomwaffen Division members. On February 5, the channel that posted the message stated that Russell would respond to messages and that the Telegram account connected to the channel would send the messages to the original senders individually.