Extremist Content Online: White Supremacists Celebrate Anniversary Of Buffalo Terror Attack on Social Media

(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 found numerous posts on Telegram, Twitter/X, and YouTube commemorating the second anniversary of the 2022 Buffalo terror attack, including sharing the attacker’s manifesto and violent footage, with some accounts explicitly advocating for further acts of white supremacist terrorism. CEP also located 12 TikTok accounts promoting the Buffalo attack and the Christchurch massacre, including content glorifying the attackers. These accounts were reported to the platforms or relevant authorities, but almost 75% remained online as of May 20. 

Also, last week, CEP researchers identified five TikTok accounts associated with Active Club chapters in Finland and Sweden. These accounts spread propaganda to promote recruitment, including videos promoting the Active Club chapters in both countries, which garnered thousands of views each.

Additionally, the pro-ISIS tech group Qimam Electronic Foundation (QEF) posted a list on PasteThis.To –  distributed via RocketChat – that recommended turning off GPS location services, disabling Wifi, and other strategies to avoid potential surveillance by law enforcement. 

Another pro-ISIS online group announced its search for translators to convert predominantly English content into Arabic, French, and Russian, specifically covering subjects pertaining to operational security and counter-surveillance methods.

Finally, CEP researchers reported a store on the e-commerce platform Spring after it was discovered to be selling clothing and stickers promoting entities associated with a neo-Nazi occult group, the Order of Nine Angles. 

White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis Celebrate Second Anniversary of Buffalo Attack

On May 14 and 15, CEP researchers located multiple posts on Telegram and Twitter/X celebrating the second anniversary of the May 2022 Buffalo attack, when a white supremacist live-streamed the murder of ten African Americans and wounding of three other people at a grocery store. Approximately a dozen Telegram channels shared the gunman’s manifesto, video clips from the attack depicting violence, and propaganda images or text encouraging further acts of white supremacist terrorism. 

CEP researchers also found six accounts on Twitter/X that celebrated the attack or glorified the perpetrator. One account, a week before the anniversary, posted a 40-second clip from the live-streamed attack video, showing extreme violence, which had over 800 views on May 16. Another account posting that they were explicitly celebrating the anniversary uploaded an edited video on Twitter/X that showed violent footage from the attack and had almost 450 views 48 hours later. Three other accounts were located on the platform that celebrated the anniversary on May 14, posting propaganda images and quoting from the gunman’s manifesto.

A video was also posted on YouTube on May 10 commemorating the gunman and encouraging additional violence. The video had 77 views six days after being posted. The name of the account that posted the clip explicitly encouraged violence against transgender people.

Twitter/X content was reported directly to the platform on May 14 and May 15, or sent to relevant authorities on May 14. Two accounts were removed by May 20, but four other accounts, which posted explicit content were still on the platform. The YouTube account was reported on May 14, but was also still online on May 20.

“Bad actors specifically shared content around the anniversary of the 2022 Buffalo attack glorifying the attack, and in some cases, encouraging further acts of violence,” said CEP Researcher Joshua Fisher-Birch. “These platforms should significantly increase their efforts to identify and remove violent extremist content, especially around attack anniversaries, which white supremacists seek to use to radicalize online audiences.”

Content Glorifying Christchurch and Buffalo Attacks Located on TikTok

CEP researchers located 12 additional TikTok accounts on May 14 that promoted the March 2019 Christchurch or May 2022 Buffalo attacks. Content included violent footage from the attack videos and content glorifying the attackers. Several video uploads were put through filters to change the resolution or tint. One upload included a recreation of the Christchurch attack in the video game Doom, and video uploads recreating both the Christchurch and the Buffalo attacks in the video game Roblox were also found. 

One video, uploaded on March 24, contained violent footage from the Christchurch attack video and images glorifying the attackers, including images portraying him as a “saint.” The video had over 31,000 views on May 16. 

CEP reported all videos to relevant national authorities or the platform on May 14. Three accounts were removed by May 20.

Five TikTok Accounts Located for Finnish and Swedish Active Clubs With Thousands of Views

CEP researchers located five TikTok accounts on May 16 affiliated with Active Club chapters in Finland and Sweden. Three accounts were for Active Club chapters in separate regions of Finland. The TikTok profiles had approximately 1,000, 475, and 350 followers, respectively. Recently posted videos had a large number of views. A video advertising the Active Club movement in Finland posted on May 4 had over 26,000 views on TikTok on May 16. A video posted by the account belonging to the Active Club chapter in the city of Turku and promoting six regional clubs in the country had over 5,300 views 14 hours after it was posted on the platform. Another regional Active Club account had almost 10,000 views on a collection of MMA photos advertising the group posted in March.

The two Swedish-affiliated Active Club TikTok accounts included a profile for a chapter in Östergötland, where a propaganda video posted in October had almost 20,000 views by May 16. A similar propaganda video advertising Swedish Active Clubs had over 9,500 views two days after it was posted on May 14. 

CEP reported all five accounts to TikTok on May 16. They were still on the social media site on May 20. 

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TikTok video advertising local Active Club chapters in Finland. The video had over 5,300 views within 14 hours of being posted. The text accompanying the video included contact information on Telegram and Proton Mail for recruitment purposes. Screenshot taken on May 16.

Pro-ISIS Tech Group Posts Tips to Avoid Cellphone Tracking

On May 15, the pro-ISIS tech group Qimam Electronic Foundation (QEF) posted a list on PasteThis.To and distributed via RocketChat on tips to avoid having one’s cellphone tracked by law enforcement or intelligence agencies. The post encouraged turning off GPS location services, disabling Wifi, using a VPN, updating phone software, and performing a factory reset. QEF has previously posted on similar topics, such as turning off the microphone on a smartphone, using privacy apps, and detecting whether a phone is being surveilled or hacked.

Pro-ISIS Tech Group Looking for Translators

On May 13, a pro-ISIS online group that provides information on operations security and counter-surveillance posted on RocketChat that they were looking for individuals to translate the group’s primarily English language content into Arabic, French, and Russian. The group posted content in Turkish for the first time in late April. The group is relatively new, first posting on RocketChat in late March 2024, offering advice on counter-surveillance techniques and ways to improve personal online security. 

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Post on RocketChat looking for translators. Screenshot taken on May 16.

Order of Nine Angles Affiliated Store Located on Spring

On May 16, CEP researchers reported a store on the e-commerce platform Spring that was selling clothing and stickers advertising entities linked to the neo-Nazi occult group the Order of Nine Angles.

Spring’s Acceptable Use Policy specifically outlines that the company does not “allow campaigns that promote or glorify hatred toward people based on their age, race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability and religion, including people, organizations or symbols dedicated to hatred against these groups.”

Since 2022, CEP has alerted Spring on four occasions to various shops on its platform selling clothing that glorified the Christchurch terrorist, depicted the logo of a Scottish neo-Nazi group, and promoted white supremacism, neo-Nazism, or violence. 

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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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