UK Biggest 'Market' in Europe for Jihadist Web Content: Report

Jihadist web content is accessed more frequently from the UK than any other European country, a new report has revealed, with Prime Minister Theresa May today set to urge tech firms to go “further and faster” to take down such content.

The report, The New Netwar: Countering Extremism Online, was compiled by UK think tank Policy Exchange.

It claims that the decline of ISIS online has been “significantly overstated”, with around 100 new pieces of content produced each week and around 2,000 ‘official’ videos already disseminated.

The report added:

“In many cases, content production is decentralised – driven by ISIS’ autonomous ‘provinces’. This feature has been missed, or underappreciated by other analyses of the movement…

Jihadist content is disseminated online by means of a ‘Swarmcast’ – an interconnected network that constantly reconfigures itself, much like a swarm of bees or flock of birds in mid-flight. That Swarmcast is defined by its speed, agility and resilience. It has allowed ISIS and their sympathisers to outmanoeuvre all efforts to-date to reduce significantly their online presence.”

Core supporters receive such content via end-to-end encrypted messaging service Telegram, although ISIS PR efforts also use Facebook, Google and Twitter, the latter responsible for around 40% of traffic, the report claimed.

Tens of thousands of jihadists access extremist content from around the globe, with the UK apparently the fifth most frequent location from which it’s viewed, after Turkey, the US, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Efforts by the security services to disrupt the “strategic dissemination” of such content have amounted to little more than “whack-a-mole”, with some media and academics actually making content more “findable”, the report warned.

Theresa May will address the UN today to call on tech firms to accelerate efforts to develop AI capable of spotting and taking down terrorist content in under two hours.

However, the technology doesn’t appear to be there yet, with providers wary of accidentally taking down legal content that may be erroneously flagged by current filters.

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