Extremist Content Online: Facebook Edition

(New York, N.Y.) — The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) reports weekly on the methods used by extremists to exploit Meta-owned Facebook to spread propaganda, recruit followers, and incite violence in order to hold the popular social media platform accountable for its failure to prevent the dissemination of extremist and terrorist content.

This past week, CEP located on Facebook a variety of pro-ISIS content ranging from full-length videos to pages from ISIS’s al-Naba newsletters, as well as Amaq news photos and text news posts. The seven accounts that had their followers listed averaged 886 friends or followers. Only after CEP reported the accounts and content did Facebook start to remove some, but not all content. Three accounts and two full-length videos were removed, but after the latter were online for months and received hundreds of views.

CEP also located a Facebook group dedicated to posting updates and raising money for neo-Nazi rapper Philip Hassler (“Mr. Bond”). The group page was still online 36 hours after being reported to Facebook.

Pro-ISIS and Neo-Nazi Content Located on Facebook

CEP researchers located 10 pro-ISIS accounts on Facebook in a sample of content found on October 26. The profiles posted various pro-ISIS material, including full-length ISIS videos modified to evade content detection, clips from propaganda videos, pages taken from ISIS’s al-Naba newsletter, and Amaq news photos and news posts.

Seven profiles had between 30 and 4,729 friends or followers, with an average of 886 and a median of 140. Three accounts did not have their number of friends or followers listed.

One account, with 603 friends, posted a full-length ISIS video, “Jihad of the Believers Continues #7,” on August 28, 2022. The video was originally released on March 24, 2022. The video had 900 views 59 days after it was uploaded. The video located on Facebook covered ISIS logos on the top right of the screen with an emoji. It is not clear why Facebook did not detect the video upload. The video was removed after CEP reported it.

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The ISIS video “Jihad of the Believers Continues #7,” on Facebook, 59 days after it was uploaded. ISIS logos on the top right of the screen were hidden by an emoji. Facebook removed the video after CEP reported it.

CEP researchers also located an upload of the full-length ISIS video “The Malicious Seeds in the Imprisoned Bilad al-Haramayn.” The video was originally released on December 19, 2015, but the uploader was able to post the approximately 34-minute video on Facebook on May 31, 2022. One hundred forty-eight days later, the video had over 1,500 views. Like the other full-length ISIS video that CEP located, the account owner obstructed logos on the top right of the screen with an emoji. Facebook removed the video within 36 hours after CEP reported it.

CEP reported the 10 accounts to Facebook on October 26. Approximately 24 hours later, Facebook had removed three accounts, and seven remained online.

CEP also located a Facebook group dedicated to posting updates and raising money for a neo-Nazi rapper, Philip Hassler, known as “Mr. Bond.” Hassler is serving a 10-year prison sentence in Austria for inciting violence and promoting neo-Nazism. The Facebook group contains extensive links to the musician’s content, which encourages violence, and links to websites where supporters can make donations to Hasler’s commissary account and purchase t-shirts and other merchandise. The Facebook group also contains neo-Nazi symbols, antisemitic images, and album covers glorifying white supremacist mass shooters such as Dylann Roof and Robert Bowers.

CEP reported the page to Facebook for violating their Community Standards on hate speech, however, it was still accessible approximately 36 hours later.

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

In Their Own Words:

Without doubt, the secularists are evil and more malicious than the polytheists and secularism is farther astray from the path and more malicious than polytheism. The secularists who are associated with Islam even [merely] by identity are considered apostates by a group of scholars. The Jews, Christians, those who worship graves, and many polytheists and unbelievers have committed lesser acts of unbelief than the secularists.

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, Salafist propagandist Mar. 1, 2021
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