Report: Transparency Report for Year One of the Terrorist Content Analytics Platform (TCAP)

17 March 2022

To read the report, click here.

We are delighted to announce the publication of our first Transparency Report for the Terrorist Content Analytics Platform (TCAP). The TCAP is a tool developed by Tech Against Terrorism which identifies, verifies, and alerts terrorist content to tech platforms for removal. The platform has been funded by Public Safety Canada.

The TCAP is developed using a transparency-by-design approach. This is the first TCAP transparency report, which is one of several initiatives Tech Against Terrorism has taken in compliance with our core principles. The report provides a detailed breakdown of the core metrics for the report period between 1 December 2020 and 30 November 2021, and of key TCAP policies and processes.

On the occasion of the publication of the first TCAP transparency report, Tech Against Terrorism Founder and Director Adam Hadley said:

“This report once again confirms that terrorist groups predominantly exploit a wide range of smaller platforms, but it also shows that tech platforms will do the right thing and remove terrorist material if provided with appropriate support. This further proves that our focus has to be on providing support mechanisms to platforms to ensure positive impact.”

“The report findings showcase the urgent need for governments to improve designation of far-right terrorist groups. Unfortunately a tool like TCAP – and many tech platforms – will not be able to scale its removal of far-right terrorist content unless governments lead the way in providing legal clarity around far-right terrorism, such as via designation mechanisms.”

Anne Craanen, Senior Research Analyst and TCAP Policy Lead, said:

“Transparency is a key principle at Tech Against Terrorism, and by publishing this report we hope to raise the bar in terms of providing transparency in the online counterterrorism sector. Not only does this report provide valuable insights into terrorist online propaganda dissemination techniques, it also promotes trust and accountability. We encourage all tech companies, industry initiatives, and governments to be transparent about their online counterterrorism efforts.”

Summary of key findings in the report

The TCAP Transparency Report covers a wide range of data which the TCAP team have collected and analysed since the launch of TCAP. During this reporting period:

  • The TCAP sent 11,074 alerts to 65 tech companies, 94% of which is now offline.
  • The TCAP alerted 10,959 pieces official verified content from designated Islamist terrorist groups, 94% of which was removed following alerts. The vast majority of this content was located on smaller file-sharing services (8,634) and web archiving websites (1243). The three groups which the TCAP alerted most content for were:
Terrorist GroupAlerts% of total alertsInactive% Offline% Online
1. Islamic State (IS)436440%384788%12%
2. Al-Shabab232521%231399%1%
3. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian
Peninsula (AQAP)
245022%240498%2%
  • The TCAP alerted 115 pieces of official verified far-right terrorist content, 50% of which was removed following alerts. The majority of this content was located on video-sharing (49) and archiving (43) platforms. The three groups and entities which the TCAP alerted most content for were:
Terrorist GroupAlerts% of total alertsInactive% Offline% Online
1. Christchrch attack
perpetraor
5951%2644%56%
2. Atomwafen Division2219%1464%36%
3. National Socialist
Order (NSO)
1110%327%73%
  • The discrepancy in numbers is due to different online propaganda dissemination techniques deployed by far-right and Islamist terrorist groups, and due to there being fewer far-right terrorist groups designated by democratic nation states which limits our content collection scope.
  • In total we alerted verified designated terrorist content to 13 different type of tech platforms. Most content was located on file-sharing (8,334), archiving (1,286), and link shortener (514) platforms.
  • Link shortening, photo-sharing, video hosting, audio streaming platforms, and web hosting platforms removed 100% of verified terrorist content alerted via the TCAP. Archiving platforms were the least responsive, removing 59% of TCAP alerts.

To read the report, click report below

Tech-Against-Terrorism-TCAP-Report-March-2022_v6

Report: The Threat of Terrorist and Violent Extremist Operated Websites 

28 January 2022

To read the report, click here. 

A new report from Tech Against Terrorism has found that global terrorist and violent extremist actors are running at least 198 websites on the surface web. In-depth analysis of 33 of the most prominent websites – run by actors such as Islamic State, al-Qaeda, Atomwaffen Division and the Taliban – confirms that these sites have 1.54 million monthly visitors, with the majority of visits coming from Algeria, Pakistan, United States, and the United Kingdom.  

Adam Hadley, Founder and Director of Tech Against Terrorism, said: 

“The fact that terrorists and violent extremists are able to operate hundreds of websites attracting millions of views with impunity is a failure on behalf of the global online counterterrorism sector. Terrorist operated websites is the key strategic threat with regards to terrorist use of the internet. It is clear that policymakers need to devote more political capital towards identifying practical and policy-oriented solutions to this challenge.” 

Deeba Shadnia, OSINT Analyst at Tech Against Terrorism, said: 

“Broad improvements in online moderation of terrorist content on mainstream social media has pushed terrorists and violent extremists onto smaller, more niche online spaces, and many terrorist actors have grown more reliant on website infrastructure. Without targeted action, websites provide terrorist actors with a stable and easily located platform that facilitates the dissemination and archiving of propaganda content, recruitment and internal communication.”  

In 2021, Tech Against Terrorism has facilitated the removal of 16 terrorist operated websites. 

Summary of key findings in the report 

Tech Against Terrorism has located 198 websites operated by terrorists and violent extremists. These sites promote violent extremist ideologies such as Neo-Nazism, violent insurrectionary accelerationism, Salafi-Jihadism, and Incel ideology. Analysis of these sites found that: 

    • 101 websites are operated by far-right violent extremist or terrorist groups 
    • 79 websites are operated by violent Sunni Islamist extremist or terrorist groups 
    • 18 websites are operated by violent Shia Islamist extremist or terrorist groups 
  • Sample analysis of 33 of these websites – run by groups such as Islamic State, al-Qaeda, Atomwaffen Division, Combat 18, and the Taliban – found that: 
    • These websites had a total of 1.54 million monthly visits 
    • 91% displayed audio and visual propaganda 
    • 73% contained an archive of historic terrorist content 
    • 57% included a contact address form 
    • The 17 violent Islamist sites saw most visitors from Algeria, Pakistan, and Turkey 
    • The 16 violent far-right websites saw most visitors from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Czechia 
  • Terrorist operated websites constitute a key propaganda organ for terrorist and violent extremist groups, and allow groups to disseminate recruitment material without disruption. The rise in prominence of terrorist operated websites is likely the result of improved removal campaigns across other parts of the tech industry, including on larger social media platforms.
  • There is currently no unified global approach against terrorist operated websites. Tech Against Terrorism recommends that governments create a strategy to disrupt terrorist operated websites based on collaborative engagement with web infrastructure providers and on human rights safeguards. 

To read the report, click report below

The-Threat-of-Terrorist-and-Violent-Extremist-Operated-Websites-Jan-2022

Trends in Terrorist and Violent Extremist Use of the Internet | Q1-Q2 2021

Our latest open-source intelligence (OSINT) report covers key trends in terrorist and violent extremist use of the internet identified by Tech Against Terrorism’s OSINT team over the past six months. This report aims to highlight the shifts in terrorist behaviour and tactics online, and seeks to inform more comprehensive, cross-platform responses to countering terrorist exploitation of the internet. Most trends outlined in this report have arisen partly as a consequence of improved content moderation by tech platforms in recent years, alongside the continued resilience and adaptability of terrorist networks online.

Key trends covered in this report:

  • Increased use of “cloud platform” websites
  • Increased and diversified use of the decentralised web
  • Resurgence of terrorist operated websites
  • Far-right extremist actors migrating to increasingly niche alt-tech platforms
  • Pro-IS content becoming more prevalent amid decline in official output
  • TVE supporter networks pose as news channels
<strong>Trends in Terrorist and Violent Extremist Use of the Internet&nbsp;|&nbsp;Q1-Q2 2021</strong>

Online Regulation Series | The Handbook

The Online Regulation Series Handbook provides an analysis of global online regulation, analysing over 60 legislations and regulatory proposals in 17 countries, and their implications for countering terrorist and violent extremist content.

The Handbook is based on analysis published throughout October and November 2020 for the first edition of our Online Regulation Series. All country analyses have been updated to reflect recent regulatory changes. For each country, we provide a summary of the regulatory framework and the key takeaways for tech platforms, as well as Tech Against Terrorism’s commentary.

Tech Against Terrorism The Online Regulation-Series |The-Handbook-2021

At Tech Against Terrorism our mission is to support the tech industry tackling the terrorist exploitation of the internet. Please see below, a report that displays our efforts thus far from Phase 1 in 2016 to Phase 3 in 2019 and a hand-picked selection of academic research and related articles.

Tech Against Terrorism 2019 End of Year Report

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Tech Against Terrorism 2019 End of Year Report

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Phase Two Research Paper (2017)

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PhaseTwoReport
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Phase One Research Paper (2016)

Our Phase One research paper is available in several languages. Click here to download it.

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