Videos in support of the Islamic State, the terrorist group commonly known as ISIS, are receiving tens of thousands of views on the popular video-hosting service TikTok.
Researchers with Counter Extremism Project (CEP), a nonprofit organization working to combat extremist ideologies, revealed in a report on Monday that they had discovered pro-ISIS content, including some celebrating a recent terror attack in Belgium.
The attack saw two Swedish nationals shot to death in Brussels by a man who had claimed on social media to be a member of the Islamic State. The shooter, identified as 45-year-old Tunisian Abdesalem Al Guilani, was later confronted and shot by police before succumbing to his wounds in the hospital.
The video celebrating the shooting, which had already been on the platform for 16 days when it was discovered by CEP, was able to garner more than 50,000 views. In total, the CEP was able to find five accounts spreading ISIS propaganda.
Other profiles posted content created by the Amaq News Agency, a news outlet linked to the Islamic State. CEP says that the five accounts had accrued between 156 and 1,711 followers respectively.
Although the organization says it reported all five accounts to TikTok on Nov. 2, only two of the accounts have been removed. In remarks to the Daily Dot, CEP research analyst Joshua Fisher-Birch noted that ISIS content is detected regularly on the platform.
“Since June 2023, CEP has reported 52 pieces of pro-ISIS content on the platform, 75% of which was still available on TikTok two days after it was reported for violating its Terms of Service,” Fisher-Birch said. “65% of all reported content was eventually removed (5+ days after it was reported). This content was located during quick surveys of TikTok, searching for extremist content.”
During that same time, Fisher-Birch added, the CEP found more pro-ISIS content on TikTok than on any other mainstream social media platform. Just months prior in June, CEP also discovered an ISIS propagandist calling on the group’s supporters to create TikTok accounts to spread content on behalf of the terror group.
“The platform is definitely on the radar of the group’s supporters, mainly because it is seen as a social media app popular with youth,” Fisher-Birch continued.
TikTik previously removed at least two dozen ISIS accounts in 2019 which were being used by the terrorist group to recruit new members.