Extremist Content Online: Pro-ISIS Propaganda Videos Resurface 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 identified 10 Instagram accounts sharing pro-ISIS content, one of which reposted a clip from a propaganda video showing ISIS child soldiers from 2016. On Twitter/X, researchers located neo-Nazi and antisemitic content, including one account dedicated to sharing a pro-Nazi antisemitic propaganda film in ten individual parts.

An Ohio chapter of the Active Club movement celebrated its first anniversary by attempting to recruit new members through Telegram. The New England based Nationalist Social Club (NSC) began soliciting donations for a legal defense fund using cryptocurrency and the crowdfunding platform GiveSendGo, following legal action by the states of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, both of which filed civil suits against NSC for harassment and other intimidation activities.

Pro-ISIS Accounts Located on Instagram

In a sample of content located on Meta-owned Instagram on December 14, CEP researchers found ten accounts that posted ISIS and pro-ISIS propaganda. Accounts posted sections from ISIS propaganda videos, ISIS propaganda photos, and audio from the terrorist group.

One video clip showing ISIS child soldiers from the video “My Father Told Me” was originally released in December 2016. The video on Instagram was uploaded on November 17, 2023, and had 149 “likes” when it was found on December 14. CEP also located a clip from the video “Knights of the Departments,” originally released in January 2017. The video was uploaded to Instagram on November 28 and had 59 “likes” on December 14.

The ten accounts averaged 995 followers, ranging between 69 and 5779. CEP reported the ten accounts to Instagram, but only two were removed by December 18. The account that posted the ISIS video “My Father Told Me” was removed after CEP reported it.

“CEP continues to find ISIS propaganda on Meta-owned Instagram, including recently uploaded clips from old propaganda videos,” said CEP researcher Joshua Fisher-Birch. “Social media companies have a responsibility to follow their Community Guidelines and remove terrorist content. Meta should clarify how these videos, which were several years old when they were uploaded, were able to be uploaded to their site.”

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A clip from the ISIS video “My Father Told Me” on Instagram. The image has been modified to obscure the face of a minor. The video was originally released in December 2016. Screenshot taken on December 14. The account was removed after CEP reported it.

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A clip from the ISIS video “Knights of the Departments” on Instagram. The video was originally released in January 2017. Screenshot taken on December 14.

Neo-Nazi and Antisemitic Content Located on Twitter/X

CEP researchers located a Twitter/X account, created on December 7, that is linked to a notorious neo-Nazi Telegram channel. The Telegram channel, allegedly tied to members of the Canadian neo-Nazi scene, routinely posts neo-Nazi content, including antisemitic, anti-Muslim, racist, and anti-LGBTQ content. The new X account had over 1,500 views within a week and posted multiple white supremacist, pro-Nazi, and antisemitic statements. Telegram channel admins stated that they created the X account because they “missed” being able to “respond directly to the enemy.” Four days after the May 2022 Buffalo attack, in which the perpetrator stated in his manifesto that he was motivated in part by the Great Replacement conspiracy theory, the Telegram channel said that media attention had given them “a tremendous opportunity” to recruit and spread their message. 

CEP researchers also located a verified X account that posted, in ten parts, a revisionist purported documentary that promotes antisemitic conspiracy theories, glorifies Nazi Germany, justifies the crimes of the Third Reich, blames Jews for being responsible for both world wars, and has previously been spread extensively by white supremacist groups as an introduction to antisemitism. The full video is over 10 hours long and was posted by an X account dedicated to spreading the video. The first video segment was posted on X on December 11 and had over 57,000 views by December 14. CEP previously located the full video on X on June 14 and a verified X account promoting the video in July.

CEP reported both X accounts to the platform on December 15, but they were still on the website on December 18.

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Twitter/X post from an account dedicated to spreading an antisemitic purported documentary. Screenshot taken on December 14.

Ohio Active Club Celebrates One-Year Anniversary

On December 14, an Ohio chapter of the neo-Nazi Active Club movement celebrated their first anniversary by posting a video on Telegram and announcing that they were restarting recruitment. The post included a Proton.Me email address for recruitment purposes and thanked multiple individuals and entities, including other regional Active Club chapters, Patriot Front, a small white supremacist group, a notorious neo-Nazi propaganda group, and the Australian neo-Nazi Thomas Sewell.

New England Neo-Nazi Group Requests Cryptocurrency and Donations Via GiveSendGo

On December 9, the New England neo-Nazi group Nationalist Social Club (NSC) requested donations for a legal defense fund using cryptocurrencies or via the crowdfunding site GiveSendGo in response to a lawsuit brought against the group and two of its leaders by the state of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. NSC first posted addresses to receive Monero and Bitcoin and then added an Ethereum address on December 14. 

Massachusetts and New Hampshire both filed civil rights suits in December against NSC for attempting to harass and stop drag events, arguing that NSC was violating the rights of attendees in trying to shut them down. The Massachusetts suit also alleged that NSC members trespassed onto private property and engaged in illegal activity while attempting to intimidate migrants staying at hotels in the state.

In posts on Telegram, NSC encouraged donating to their legal defense fund, stating that “the occupied government,” alluding to an antisemitic conspiracy theory, was seeking to bankrupt the organization.

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On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.

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