The European Union’s police agency, Europol, has announced that it has hit Islamic State’s online presence, claiming that the group is totally offline for the time being. With the rapidity that online groups can be set up, they may spring back up in time but it’ll likely take a while for any subscribers of those channels to reconnect.
Commenting on the operation, Eric Van Der Sypt, a spokesman at Europol, said:
“For the time being, for as far as we know, IS is not present on the internet anymore. And we will see how fast, if ever, they will regain surface. … Besides the military activities on battlefields in Syria and Iraq and the attacks on European territory, Islamic State conducts a huge battle on the world wide web - in the form of propaganda coordinated by the IS media network.”
One of the terror group’s main channels of communications was Telegram but Europol was able to shut down channels and groups on that platform with the assistance of the app’s developers. Europol subsequently thanked Telegram for helping it to root out the malicious content. Telegram was not alone in hosting terrorist content though, as ISIS was also operating on Twitter, Instagram, and services run by Google.
In total, Europol said that it was working with nine platforms in total to conduct the coordinated takedown. Europol also confirmed that Spain's Guardia Civil arrested a suspected disseminator of propaganda.