More than 1,000 pieces of terrorist and violent extremist online content in seven different languages have been assessed for the purpose of referral to online platforms during a two-day concerted action coordinated by Europol, in collaboration with representatives from Italy, Latvia, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.
The processed content had been hosted by 41 online platforms. The action focused mainly on the online production of terrorist material by IS and Al Qaeda affiliated media outlets.
Europol’s Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU), composed of specialists, analysts, translators and counter-terrorism experts, teamed up with their counterparts to coordinate the removal of propagandistic terrorist messages present on the internet. The final removal of the referred material is a voluntary activity carried out by the concerned service providers, in accordance with their own terms and conditions.
Although social media platforms are still the first choice for terrorist groups to spread their propaganda, during the two-day action, the EU IRU team also identified websites and blogs that were being used for this purpose.
Efforts made by numerous online platforms to remove inappropriate content have driven supporters of terrorist groups to simultaneously use multiple platforms to promote terrorism and incite violence. They are also constantly searching for new service providers to make sure their messages reach potential supporters.