18:18 GMT17 April 2021
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    Researchers say Daesh backers have turned to a new and convenient platform to spread militant propaganda: Instagram's "Stories," which automatically disappear after 24 hours.

    The Russian Defense Ministry said Friday that almost 90 percent of the Syrian territory has been liberated from the Daesh terrorist group. With the terrorists losing their strongholds in Syria and Iraq and having their Twitter, YouTube and Facebook accounts deleted, Daesh backers have been struggling to find an alternative platform to share their content with followers.

    According to AP, in their quest to find a new propaganda medium, more than 50,000 of the group's adherents eventually settled on photo-sharing app Instagram, which provides a unique "Stories" feature. The feature allows sets of images or short videos to be shared widely, but expire and disappear after 24 hours.

    At least 10,000 Instagram accounts have been identified as having "extremely strong links" to Daesh, the report said, which means they were followed back by core Daesh accounts. About 30 percent of the content those accounts post is about the group.

    "They send a message that they know will disappear but they know who the audience is. They are using these stories because they know it is a safe channel to share information," said Andrea Stroppa, a member of the software research group Ghost Data.

    Instagram is owned by Facebook, which used to be one of the most popular platforms for Daesh recruitment until the company launched a crackdown on Daesh-related accounts after international criticism.

    "There is no place for terrorists, terrorist propaganda, or the praising of terror activity on Instagram, and we work aggressively to remove content or an account as soon as we become aware of it," an Instagram official statement released on Wednesday said.

    The company said its policy prohibits terrorist content, and that it has specialized teams that work on stopping the spread of improper posts from its platform.


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    propaganda, Facebook, Instagram, Daesh
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