IS-linked propaganda outlet moves to Instagram


Screenshot of Nashir News AgencyImage copyright

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Instagram has deleted the Nashir News Agency

A propaganda arm of the so-called Islamic State group (IS) has for the first time set up an account on Instagram.

The outlet, called Nashir News Agency, promoted the new Instagram account via its established channels on the Telegram messaging app on 11 May.

It said it set up the account as an experiment in spreading information about IS.

Instagram said it deleted the account for violating its guidelines.

A spokeswoman for the social network told the BBC: “Instagram has zero tolerance for terrorists, terrorist propaganda, or the praising of terror activity, and we work aggressively to remove it as soon as we become aware of it.”

The move to Instagram came a day after Nashir set up two accounts on Facebook to also spread news. Both have since been closed.

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The Instagram feed, which was seen by about 100 users before being shut down, posted a stream of official IS propaganda, which included images taken during attacks by the terror group and statements claiming responsibility for other assaults.

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The Nashir News Agency has been a vigorous promoter of information from IS. It recently revealed that it had established more than 100 channels on Telegram that replicated content from its main account.

Via Telegram it also began letting supporters know about new accounts on Twitter and Facebook. These have repeatedly been targeted for suspension.

Since late March, Nashir, which largely distributes official IS propaganda, diversified its content to include calls on IS supporters to make more effort on popular social media platforms, particularly Twitter and Facebook, to spread information about the group.

On 27 March it published a poster that advertised Instagram as one platform among others it planned to use.

A high profile pro-IS outfit called Bank al-Ansar, which provides thousands of accounts to IS supporters on Twitter and Facebook, has also been reported offering Instagram accounts.

In March 2017, Bank al-Ansar celebrated its first 12 months of activity, claiming it had provided 43,000 accounts on Twitter, 9,000 on Facebook and 150 on Instagram during that period.

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