Europol director Rob Wainwright has revealed that the agency is to initiate Europe wide tracking of social media accounts and messages used as propaganda tools by Islamic State (IS).
Up to 100,000 messages a day, released by around 50,000 social media accounts linked to the jihadists, are aimed at promoting the ideals of IS and recruiting fighters and brides to move to the areas of Iraq and Syria that make up the ‘caliphate’.
Wainwright said that by tracking the accounts, not only will Interpol be able to identify those issuing the messages, but also those being targeted.
“Who is it reaching out to young people, in particular, by social media, to get them to come, in the first place? It’s very difficult because of the dynamic nature of social media.”
Due to the size of the task, the unit will use network analytics to identify where the most regular traffic is emanating from and will listen in to chatter in commonly used websites. The project is based on a similar task force established by Scotland Yard in London, and is expected to chase sources of funding as well.
The British Home Secretary Theresa May revealed the UK support for the initiative last week,
“We have also supported the EU in setting up an internet-referral unit at Europol to address the increasing amount of terrorist and extremist propaganda available on the internet, and I am pleased to say the UK will be seconding a police officer to this unit.”