Update - 3/3/15: ADL contacted Twitter about the associated handle. It has since been removed.
Update - 2/27/15: ADL contacted Google about the website this morning. It has since been removed.
A website calling itself IS-Tube, providing access to an archive of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) propaganda videos, is the latest example of ISIS’ sophisticated social media communication and recruitment strategies, which have influenced a diverse group of people from around the world, including from the United States, throughout 2014.
The website features a large collection of propaganda videos created by official ISIS media outlets, including ISIS’s feature-length film Flames of War, which presents an apocalyptic struggle between the terrorist group and the West, and the recent video showing the murder of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh, who was captured by ISIS and burned to death.
Visitors to the site can search for the videos they want to find via a search bar, or via drop-down menus that categorize videos by narrator - for example, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi or spokesman Abu Muhamed al Adnani – or by media group, including ISIS’s Al Hayat, Al Itisam, Furqan Media and Ajnad Media. Videos can also be searched by country of origin.
The country of origin search includes Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Algeria, the Afghanistan region, Saudi Arabia and the Sinai, demonstrating ISIS’s expansive claims of influence throughout the region.
IS-Tube, hosted on a Google-owned IP block and registered to what appears to an address in Amsterdam, is associated with a specific Twitter handle, which directed users to the webpage as part of a new hashtag campaign launched on February 26. The campaign encourages supporters to send tweets with the hashtag #IslamicStateMedia or a corresponding Arabic hashtag.
Calls for attacks against Western countries and for Muslims abroad to travel to join ISIS in the region have been prominent among the messages being tweeted by ISIS supporters using #IslamicStateMedia, as have tweets of ISIS magazines, videos and other propaganda content in addition to IS-Tube. One ISIS supporter, for example, tweeted an image of Hyper Cacher, the kosher grocery store attacked in Paris in January, with the words, “Jihad is the path for Paradise. O’ lone wolf, another attack like Paris attack #IslamicStateMedia.”
ISIS has conducted similar hashtag campaigns in the past, which it uses both to mobilize supporters and to advertise specific messages. Following the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices and a kosher supermarket in France in January, ISIS supporters used the hashtag #FightForHim to capitalize on the press surrounding the attacks and call for additional violence. In June and August 2014, ISIS initiated hashtag campaigns using the phrases #CalamityWillBefallUS and #AMessageFromISIStoUS that threatened the U.S. and its citizens.
The ADL’s Cyber-Safety Action Guide enables the community to register concerns with Internet service providers when they encounter terrorist content online.