(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 Facebook accounts used to spread ISIS and Hurras al-Din video propaganda that was viewed hundreds of times. Also, a notorious neo-Nazi accelerationist Telegram channel urged followers to commit acts of sexual violence, including rape, and directed members to write and send money to incarcerated El Paso shooter Patrick Crusius. In addition, users of an 8chan successor imageboard encouraged violence against Black Lives Matter and anti-fascist activists.
Meanwhile, a pro-ISIS tech group released an instructional video for installing the program Virtual Box, which allows users to run embedded operating systems. Finally, a U.S.-based neo-Nazi network posted a recruiting video to Twitter, and white supremacists celebrated the publication of the fraudulent anti-Semitic conspiracy theory called “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” by the FBI records vault Twitter account.
Facebook Accounts Spreading ISIS and Hurras al-Din Propaganda Located
Between August 15 and August 21, CEP researchers located several Facebook pages involved in spreading ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliated Hurras al-Din propaganda. Hurras al-Din and its leaders are U.S. Specially Designated Global Terrorists. The U.S. presently offers a $5 million reward for information on three of its leaders.
“The continued presence of terrorist propaganda on Facebook by several accounts that support ISIS- and al-Qaeda shows that significant gaps still exist in Facebook’s efforts to remove the worst terrorist content from its platform,” said CEP researcher Joshua Fisher-Birch. “Further, of the videos CEP located, one recycled footage released over three years ago, putting into question their ability to remove re-uploaded content.”
Pro-ISIS accounts included those that spread text versions of Amaq News updates, propaganda photos, short videos from pro-ISIS media groups, and clips from official ISIS videos. An almost three-minute clip taken from an official ISIS video had been on Facebook for approximately 48 hours, and had been viewed over 650 times, and received 160 likes/reacts, 26 comments, and four shares.
Another clip taken from an official ISIS video released in February 2017, included statements from two teenage suicide bombers and footage of their suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonating. The video was online for approximately three days when it was located, and had over 1,000 views 254 likes/reacts, 32 comments, and seven shares.
An account that spread al-Qaeda-linked Hurras al-Din propaganda posted a video from the group, which was online for six days when it was located, with over 400 views and 82 likes/reacts. The same account also posted a video clip featuring al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, which had been online for five days when it was located, and had over 350 views, and over 100 likes/reacts.
ISIS video clip on Facebook with over 1,000 views three days after it was uploaded. August 20, 2020.
Notorious Neo-Nazi Accelerationist Telegram Channel Encourages Rape, Sexual Violence, Sending Money to Incarcerated El Paso Shooter
A notorious neo-Nazi accelerationist channel encouraged its subscribers to commit acts of sexual violence, including rape. The channel described sexual violence as a weapon against opponents and urged individuals to commit these acts as a way to gain power. A now-defunct web forum, Fascist Forge, that had a similar worldview to the Telegram channel had advocated for a campaign of mass sexual violence. The channel also posted the jailhouse address for the El Paso attacker, Patrick Crusius, and encouraged followers to write to him and send him money.
The channel had over 2,200 subscribers on August 20 and is one of the most notorious neo-Nazi propaganda outlets on Telegram. The channel routinely calls for acts of violence and terrorism against the U.S. government, Jews, people of color, the LGBT community, activists, and others. The channel has posted material praising groups such as the Atomwaffen Division, The Base, the Sonnenkrieg Division, and the neo-Nazi satanic occult group, the Order of Nine Angles. The channel was removed from Telegram on June 24 but later returned using a different name.
Users of 8chan Successor Imageboard Encourage Violence Against Black Lives Matter and Anti-Fascist Activists
Users of an 8chan successor imageboard made several posts encouraging violence against Black Lives Matter and anti-fascist activists. Users requested content showing violent acts committed against African Americans, and sought to motivate other users to commit violent crimes. Users of the same board have frequently called for and encouraged violence, and have praised the Christchurch terror attack, among other mass shootings.
Pro-ISIS Tech Group Release Video on Installing Virtual Box
CEP researchers located a video originally released on August 13 by the pro-ISIS tech group Electronic Horizons Foundation (EHF) showing how to install the program Virtual Box. Virtual Box allows individuals to run embedded operating systems. The EHF website used Cloudflare as its name server and Tucows as its registrar.
EHF was created in 2016 to provide cybersecurity and web technical assistance to ISIS supporters. The group currently operates several points of communication and releases a semi-regular tech bulletin.
U.S. Based Neo-Nazi Network Posts Recruiting Video to Twitter
A U.S. based neo-Nazi network that seeks to establish autonomous allied group chapters around the U.S. and Europe posted a recruitment video on Twitter on August 15. The network hub claims that each regional chapter acts on its own “legal or otherwise,” and that the purpose is to establish worldwide club affiliates. The network, which started as a white supremacist fight club in New England, claims to have allied groups in Tennessee, the Midwest, and the Southwest, in addition to Germany and France. The Twitter page was created in May 2020. The Southwest chapter posted an image on August 16 of seven men posing with rifles, the group’s flag, and a flag for the Rise Above Movement (RAM).
White Supremacists Celebrate FBI Posting of “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion”
On August 19, the FBI records vault Twitter account posted the FOIA file for the fraudulent anti-Semitic “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion,” along with government documents related to the report’s government circulation. Included were pdfs from government sources stating that the text was a fraud, however, the entire file was posted without context and was widely circulated. The “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” is a fraudulent anti-Semitic conspiracy theory dating from early 20th century Russia that purports to expose a Jewish cabal seeking to control the world. White supremacists and anti-Semites on Telegram and Twitter celebrated the posting and the reaction to it online and used the occasion to post and spread the anti-Semitic document.