1814 pieces of terrorist and violent extremist online content have been assessed for the purpose of referral to online platforms during a two-day concerted action coordinated by Europol, in collaboration with representatives from dedicated units in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Romania. The processed content was in nine different languages and hosted by 35 online platforms. The final removal of the referred material is a voluntary activity by the concerned service providers, taken in reference to their own terms and conditions.
This intensive campaign was held at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague on 29 and 30 November and focused mainly on the online production of terrorist material by IS and al-Qaeda-affiliated media outlets.
Europol’s Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU), composed of specialists, analysts, translators and counter-terrorism experts, teamed up with their Belgian, French, Dutch and Romanian counterparts to coordinate a swift removal of propagandistic terrorist messages present on the internet.
As already examined in one of Europol’s main publications, the EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT), terrorist groups have intensified their efforts to spread their propaganda on social media, but have also diversified their strategy by being active on several social media platforms and by using numerous accounts to radicalise, recruit and direct terrorist activity.
The EU IRU was launched in July 2015 as a fundamental capability of Europol’s Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC), devoting its resources to the fight against terrorist propaganda and related violent extremist activities on the internet.