Extremist Content Online: Footage From Christchurch Terrorist Attack Video, Other White Supremacist Content, Found On Instagram

(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 several pieces of white supremacist and neo-Nazi propaganda on Facebook-owned Instagram, including footage from the Christchurch terrorist attack video. Two different uploads of a notorious ISIS bomb-making video on the Internet Archive that instructs viewers on making explosive devices using commercially available products were also found. Also, a pro-ISIS propaganda website put out a call through their Telegram channel for assistance from individuals skilled in fields such as programming, hacking, cybersecurity, editing, and translation, among others.

Meanwhile, CEP researchers located a fundraiser for the Australian neo-Nazi Thomas Sewell on the website “Buy Me a Coffee” (BMAC). Sewell was charged with “affray, recklessly causing injury and unlawful assault” for an alleged videotaped attack on a television station security guard. Finally, a Telegram channel supported by the main Proud Boys channel shared two previously released videos threatening 28 journalists, researchers, and anti-fascist activists.

Neo-Nazi Propaganda, Footage from Christchurch Terrorist Attack Video Located on Instagram

The week of March 7 to March 13, CEP researchers located several pieces of white supremacist and neo-Nazi propaganda on Facebook-owned Instagram. Accounts with approximately 45, 80, and 160 followers uploaded slightly modified propaganda images made initially by the neo-Nazi groups Atomwaffen Division and the Feuerkrieg Division. Another account was located with approximately 150 followers, and referenced a murder committed by a member of the Atomwaffen Division in the username, contained neo-Nazi imagery and statements, and praised ISIS. Despite violating Instagram’s Community Guidelines, the account was not removed after it was reported. An additional account with over 2,500 followers was advertising items for sale, including The Turner Diaries, knives, pepper spray, and white supremacist clothing.

CEP researchers also located an account that posted an approximately 30-second clip from the March 15, 2019, Christchurch terrorist attack that was slightly modified so that the attacker made a different vocal statement. The clip was posted on February 20, 2021, and had 46 views when it was located. Instagram removed the video approximately five minutes after CEP reported it. The account that posted the clip was not removed. Another account that posted a meme containing a screenshot from the Christchurch attacker’s video was reported for violating the site's Community Guidelines but was not removed by Instagram. The photo was posted on August 28, 2019, and had 20 likes.

Pepper spray advertised for sale by a white supremacist clothing label on Instagram. Screenshot taken March 11, 2021.

Notorious ISIS Bomb Making Video Located on the Internet Archive

CEP researchers located two different uploads of a notorious ISIS bomb-making video on the Internet Archive that instructs viewers on making explosive devices using commercially available products. This specific video has been linked to the May 2017 Manchester Arena bombing perpetrator, who killed 22 people and injured hundreds more. The video also encourages attacks in the West and shows knife tactics on a human target, who is executed in the process. One video was uploaded in early March 2021, while the other upload was made in mid-February 2021. Both videos were included in large sets of multiple items of ISIS propaganda uploaded by nearly identical accounts. The Internet Archive removed both videos on March 11 after CEP reported them.

Pro-ISIS Propaganda Website Puts Out Call for Specialists

A pro-ISIS propaganda website put out a call through their Telegram channel for assistance from individuals skilled in fields such as programming, hacking, cybersecurity, editing, and translation, among others. The announcement was in Arabic, English, and French. The same post also called for individuals to create and share social media accounts for spreading ISIS propaganda. The website is currently on the .ro domain and has previously been on the .tf, and .pl domains and at least six others.

Australian Neo-Nazi Fundraises on “Buy Me a Coffee” Website

CEP researchers located a fundraiser for the Australian neo-Nazi Thomas Sewell on the website “Buy Me a Coffee” (BMAC). On March 2, Sewell was charged with “affray, recklessly causing injury and unlawful assault” for an alleged videotaped attack on a television station security guard. Sewell claimed to be fundraising for his legal defense on BMAC and had raised over AUD 1,000 on March 10 after the fundraiser was online for approximately 24 hours. Sewell previously had a nearly identical fundraiser on BMAC the previous week that raised approximately AUD 1,300 but was removed from the site. Both fundraisers used the same profile photo and slightly different variations on the username. The second fundraiser was not removed by the website after it was reported.

Sewell’s group, the National Socialist Network, has stated that they support “white revolution” by any means for the purpose of taking power. The group has previously posted propaganda stickers in the vicinity of a synagogue in Brisbane, Australia, and sought to recruit on social media advertising the action. 

Telegram Channel Linked to Proud Boys Posts Old Threats to Journalists and Researchers

On March 9, a Telegram channel supported by the main Proud Boys channel shared two previously released videos threatening 28 journalists, researchers, and anti-fascist activists. Both videos encourage acts of violence against individuals on the list. The Proud Boys did not make the videos, but they feature several individuals who alleged group members have previously harassed or threatened.

The Telegram channel exists to dox and harass the Proud Boys’ perceived enemies, including journalists and anti-fascist activists. The Daily Dot has linked a previous version of the Telegram channel to the Proud Boys, and the main Proud Boys channel posted links urging their members to join both versions to “purge the scum.” The main Proud Boys channel specifically identified the second and current dox channel as belonging to them on January 19, 2021. Telegram removed the first version of the channel on January 18, 2021; however, the second channel was created the next day and is still online.

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Fact:

On August 19, 2021, at least three people were killed and 50 were injured when a roadside bomb struck a Shiite procession marking the 7th century death of Prophet Muhammad's grandson Hussein, a Shiite saint. Sunni extremists were suspected in the explosion in Bahawalnagar, Punjab province, Pakistan.

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