Members of the “Islamic State” (an organization banned in the territory of the Russian Federation) after active blocking of chats in Telegram began to create chats in the Russian messenger TamTam. This was reported by Insider, citing member of the board of the International Center for the Suppression of Terrorism, a Belgian expert on jihadist groups, Peter Van Ostyen.
Last Saturday, November 30, 28-year-old Usman Khan attacked people at the Fishmongers Hall in London. With his knife, he injured several people, two of whom died. Scotland Yard acknowledged the incident as a terrorist attack.
On Sunday, December 1, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. Members of the terrorist organization reported this through their news agency Amaq.
As Peter Van Ostyen found out, “dozens of groups with thousands of members” fell silent on Friday night. This was the result of a massive sweep of such accounts by the Telegram administration, which began on November 25.
It is a coincidence that the channel closing operation on Telegram was started just a few days before the London attack. However, it turned out to be very useful, since all ISIS chats began to show more activity, which facilitated their identification and removal.
However, Peter Van Ostyen discovered a tweet that clarified the situation: ISIS supporters massively migrated to the Russian TamTam messenger. It was there on Saturday afternoon, a few minutes before Telegram, the first reports appeared about the involvement of a terrorist organization in a terrorist attack.
The amount of links to new official outlets on #TamTam from #IS central as well as pro #IS media collectives being published, is staggering. The #Europol takedown on #Telegram has seemingly had the effect of much stronger presence on new platforms. Monitoring them is a handful. pic.twitter.com/IforByxBNe
– Michael Krona (@GlobalMedia_) December 2, 2019
By Tuesday, December 3, the TamTam administration was aware of a sudden increase in the number of extremist groups. According to Van Ostein, they are already blocked.
And here we are, #IS booted off of Tam Tam less than 24 hours later.
Hats off to @tamtamchat for dislodging it so comprehensively. Now just keep up the pressure! https://t.co/iBocq2cwrK
– Charlie Winter (@charliewinter) December 3, 2019
As it became known, the administration of TamTam deleted hundreds of accounts. At the same time, according to Novaya Gazeta with reference to the statement of the representatives of the messenger, these actions were committed without complaints from law enforcement agencies:
With the help of automatic algorithms and operational work with user complaints, this activity quickly decreased.
There are two points of view. The first is the most obvious. This is a victory, because terrorists and their supporters will have fewer channels for communication.
Another point of view is less obvious. The problem is that in open resources it is very easy to follow ISIS supporters.
I followed about 50 groups (before overclocking). (This) was extremely useful to keep an eye on ISIS. Now two are left.
Peter Van Ostyen
Jihadist expert, board member of the International Center Against Terrorism
What is there to be afraid of?
The fact that ISIS will switch to its own communication channel, access to which will be not so easy to obtain not only for researchers, but also for law enforcement agencies. That is, there will be fewer opportunities to prevent terrorist attacks.
It is reasonable to assume that ISIS will resume the development of tools that will reduce the group’s dependence on social networks and instant messengers in order to reach potential supporters at the global level.
Michael S. Smith II
Until this happened, ISIS had many public options. Over the past few years, supporters of a terrorist organization banned in the Russian Federation have experimented with platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, rocket.chat, Baaz, TikTok, Threema, and even Google+. Now, after blocking channels in Telegram, the queue has reached TamTam. It is ironic that this particular messenger, owned by Mail.Ru Group, was positioned in April 2018 as a replacement for "Cart". So replaced.
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