The Propaganda Pipeline: The ISIS Fuouaris Upload Network on Facebook

This new investigation from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) delves into the inner workings of a pro-ISIS account network on Facebook, providing a case study of the resilient network dynamics, technological loopholes, and cross-platform activity that allowed a web of accounts to survive and flourish for over three months on a platform which purports to be a hostile environment for terrorist actors.

Published: 13th July 2020
Written By: Moustafa Ayad

In the last two years, Facebook’s transparency reporting shows the company detecting and deleting 99 per cent of terrorism-related posts — about 26 million pieces of content — before they were reported to the social network. But what about the remaining one per cent?

This new investigation from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) delves into the inner workings of a pro-ISIS account network on Facebook, providing a case study of the resilient network dynamics, technological loopholes, and cross-platform activity that allowed a web of accounts to survive and flourish for over three months on a platform which purports to be a hostile environment for terrorist actors.

This specific pro-ISIS network — comprised of several hundred accounts and reaching audiences in the tens of thousands — represents one island in an archipelago of self-contained but interlocking networks geared towards spreading terrorist content on the platform. Our qualitative study only scratches the surface of this ecosystem, providing examples of what insights can be uncovered through manual investigation. Such analysis needs to be scaled up and automated to understand the true scope and nature of the challenge.

Political Monopoly: How Europe’s New Authoritarians Stifle Democracy and Get Away With it

"Political Monopoly: How Europe’s New Authoritarians Stifle Democracy and Get Away With it" is a new analysis of how Europe’s new authoritarians in Hungary, Poland and elsewhere consolidate power while maintaining a democratic facade. Comparing them to economic monopolies, it proposes a framework of “political anti-trust” to restore competitive politics.

The Genesis of a Conspiracy Theory

This briefing paper provides an overview of the key trends in activity around the QAnon conspiracy theory from 2017 to 2020. Crucially it points to major spikes in QAnon activity in March 2020, suggesting both an increase in activity to promote the conspiracy theory and the spread of this conspiracy to new audiences.