With the Telegram deletion campaign of jihadists' accounts continuing unabated, and thousands of "bots and channels" banned across the past week, jihadists are venting their frustrations and searching for haven.
As SITE reported on November 25, 2019, Telegram, motivated by Europol's "Referral Action Days," purged accounts and channels of jihadi content creators and distributors, and those of supporters in those channels and groups, forcing jihadists either to seek a new platform, or enter the cycle of opening an account, having it deleted, and then opening another.
SITE Intelligence Group Director Rita Katz notes the difference between the latest Telegram crackdown and those in the past:
What differentiates this dumping campaign from prior efforts is the mass removal of individual users and administrators -not necessarily channels themselves- which had proven ineffective.
Those Islamic State (IS) supporters in the former category have opened accounts on Conversations, MeWe, Riot, Rocket.Chat, and Threema, and many have found their access denied on those apps, also. Meanwhile, a server using the open-source Rocket.Chat platform, which supporters launched several months ago, remains relatively quiet. Al-Qaeda (AQ) and its branches and supporters have narrowed their focus to websites, and for al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) in particular, Riot and Threema.
Despite the arduous process of creating a new phone number for Telegram, and then the annoyance of having that number banned, some IS supporters insist on remaining on that platform. In an English-language chat on Rocket.Chat, one user wrote, for example:
in telegram you can scan links and files ! on other platforms you will be easy to take down with malwares ! so F europol jerks !! telegram is our !! telegram is famous now thanks to the khilafah supporters , befor no one was using it in the past !
Another said, responding to Riot banning accounts and chat rooms:
telegram is still a better place than riot I guess
brothers need to keep making channels after channels and kikes should waste their time going after them.
Without a foreseeable end to Telegram deletions, jihadists will continue to explore and experiment with new platforms. Just as the IS and its followers migrated from Twitter to Qwitter, Diaspora, and Friendica, and then, ultimately, Telegram, they will do so again, either finding a stable home, or playing the game of whack-a-mole with social media apps and intelligence agencies.