On 14 and 15 March 2018 Europol’s European Union Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) took part in two Referral Action Days with colleagues from the national referral units of Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Slovenia and the United Kingdom, targeting terrorist content located on WordPress.com, a blogging service, and VideoPress, a video-hosting service for WordPress sites. The intensive referral campaign identified over 900 items of branded terrorist propaganda that were swiftly flagged to the platform moderators for further review and eventual removal.
During the action days the specialised law enforcement units performed a qualitative assessment of the detected content, highlighting emerging patterns in terrorists abusing online platforms and promoting content intending to radicalise, recruit and propagate terrorist activities.
This coordinated action against online terrorist propaganda focused mainly on the online production of terrorist materials by media outlets affiliated with the so-called “Islamic State” and “al-Qaeda”. Among the items referred were propaganda videos and web pages glorifying or supporting terrorism and extremism. The final removal of the referred material is a voluntary activity by the platforms involved, taking into consideration their own terms and conditions.
Both national referral units and the EU IRU cooperate with the platforms to restrict availability of online content which promotes terrorism or incites violence.
During the Referral Action Days Europol promotes a coordinated approach to fighting terrorist propaganda online. Similar joint action, involving EU Member States and online industry partners, will continue to be organised on a regular basis.