ISIS is getting with the times. The Islamic terrorist group is reportedly using the widely popular social media platform TikTok to recruit young members who will carry out bombing attacks over the holidays.
An investigation by a U.K. media outlet found several dozens of TikTok accounts spreading ISIS propaganda and inciting hatred to non-Muslims. One of the videos posted by an account called upon supporters to launch mass-casualty attacks in Western countries over the Christmas holidays.
“They do not believe in Allah, and they make fun of the sacred. They are Shaytan [Devil] slaves,” one video with moody background sounds said, describing Christmas as “the celebration of the Kufar [non-Muslims] & Crusaders,” The Sun U.K. reported. Scenes of Christmas markets and celebrations were also shown, followed by a narration that said, “Prepare yourself, O soldier of Allah to shed the blood of these Kufar.”
The ISIS propaganda video on TikTok also called for followers to step up and become suicide bombers, advising hopefuls to “enter the crowds disguised in their clothes,” bring explosives, and then “explode it and plant panic and terror in their hearts.” The TikTok account used to spread ISIS propaganda has been allowed to operate on the platform for at least 18 months now and has been watched thousands of times.
But that’s just one of several dozens of ISIS propaganda accounts on TikTok right now. One ISIS account featured a woman in a burka who posted what appeared like surveillance video of buildings and structures in Germany, with a caption that ominously read, “May Allah accept you into Paradise.” The video began with a regular electronic beeping noise and the sound of police sirens.
ISIS’ use of TikTok to spread deadly propaganda is indicative of the terror group’s plans to recruit beyond the Middle East and influence young, impressionable people to join their deadly cause and carry out suicide bombings in Europe. Since the recent car bomb attack in Liverpool, the U.K. terror threat has been elevated to “severe,” with concerns about “lone wolf” attackers carrying out more attacks during the Covid lockdowns.
On Wednesday, a 19 year old woman in Italy was arrested over suspicion of involvement in international terrorism. Authorities found in her phone videos of beheadings and other ISIS propaganda materials. According to a TikTok spokesperson, “TikTok’s Community Guidelines categorically prohibit violent extremist content on the platform.”
“We do not allow people to use our platform to threaten or incite violence, or promote terrorist organisations. Any accounts found to be in violation of this will be removed immediately,” the spokesperson said. Yet, dozens of ISIS-linked propaganda accounts still exist today.
According to the National Pulse, the Trump administration pushed to ban TikTok in the U.S. over its ties to Islamic terrorism. But the Biden administration quashed any plans of removing the social media app in the U.S.