Extremist Content Online: Instagram Accounts Use Pro-ISIS Content To Encourage Acts Of Terrorism

(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 identified 20 accounts on Meta-owned Instagram that had shared pro-ISIS propaganda, three of which advertised a recent audio statement from ISIS spokesperson Abu Hudhayfah Al-Ansari. CEP reported the accounts to Instagram, but 16 remained online as of April 22.

Additionally, on an imageboard on the dark web known for advocating violence, CEP located a post that advised potential lone actors against social media use against the backdrop of British authorities prosecuting a neo-Nazi teenager accused of plotting an attack on a synagogue. Finally, the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) shared a propaganda video on an alternative platform – amplified via Telegram – depicting its members demolishing a migrant camp in Stockholm with sledgehammers, coupled with a blog urging the removal of so-called “enemies” from Swedish land.

Pro-ISIS Content Located on Instagram

In a sample of content located on April 17, CEP researchers located 20 accounts on Instagram that posted ISIS and pro-ISIS propaganda. Content included clips from official ISIS propaganda videos, footage and photos from pro-ISIS media groups, and recently released Amaq news footage, photos, and statements. Three accounts advertised the March 28 audio statement from ISIS spokesperson Abu Hudhayfah Al-Ansari, and at least two accounts made posts praising the March 22 Moscow concert hall attack and encouraged additional acts of terrorism. Three accounts posted graphic execution footage, including an Amaq video released on April 16 that shows the killing of an alleged Nigerian Army soldier in Borno State.

The 20 accounts had an average of 793 followers, ranging from 81 to 4,432. CEP reported the 20 accounts to Instagram on April 17. Sixteen accounts were still on Instagram on April 22.

“Social media platforms should take appropriate action to prevent the spread of content glorifying terrorism and acts of violence,” said CEP researcher Joshua Fisher-Birch. “Instagram must curb the spread of extremist content on its platform with greater speed, accuracy, and consistency. Propaganda, such as a recently released Amaq video, advertising ISIS leadership statements, and celebrating recent attacks should be removed immediately.”

screenshot of video on instagram

A clip from the ISIS video “Arrows of the Monotheists” on Instagram. The video was originally released in April 2017. The clip on Instagram was located on April 17, 2024. The researcher has obscured the logo on the top left of the screen, used by a pro-ISIS propagandist. The video was removed from Instagram by April 22, but the account was still on the platform.

Pro-ISIS account on Instagram that posted Amaq news photos and claims of responsibility. Screenshot taken on April 17. This account was removed from Instagram after CEP reported it.

White Supremacist Dark Web Imageboard Tells Would Be Attackers to Avoid Social Media

On April 12, in response to the ongoing trial of a British teenage neo-Nazi accused of planning an attack on a synagogue, an imageboard on the dark web cautioned potential lone actor attackers to avoid using social media. Users of the imageboard have called for acts of violence, praised white supremacist terrorists like the March 2019 Christchurch attacker, and have previously shared information on constructing homemade firearms.

Nordic Resistance Movement Destroys Migrant Camp

On April 16, the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) posted a propaganda video on an alternative video platform that showed the group’s members tearing down a migrant camp in Stockholm using sledgehammers and crowbars on April 14. An accompanying blog on the group’s website called to “drive the enemy out of the land.” A French neo-Nazi Telegram channel associated with the hooligan scene posted the video on April 17, where it received over 6,500 views within 36 hours. According to the Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency, 20 NRM members attacked the camp, destroying buildings and demanding that residents leave.

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Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


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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