ISIS has extended its social media reach beyond YouTube, Twitter and Facebook with a new smartphone app.
According to Foreign Policy, the app offers text and video reports, with news of battlefield victories and executions of enemies carried out by the extremist group. The app also provides material from the Amaq News Agency, which is affiliated with ISIS’s online propaganda operations.
Ghost Security Group, a collective formed to attack ISIS websites, has been credited with discovering the existence of the app. The group found it on a closed channel on the messaging app Telegram, which is the preferred mode of communication for ISIS thanks to its ultra-secure encryption that prevents government snooping.
The extremist group’s app can only be downloaded on Android phones through privately shared links on Telegram and isn’t available on Google’s Play Store. This makes it hard to eliminate.
The new communication tool seems to be an attempt by ISIS to create a more secure social media presence than on its usual platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, which are easy targets for governments and independent groups seeking to diminish the group’s influence.
News of the app’s existence comes amid increased pressure on tech companies from the White House and Congress to take a more aggressive role in policing the spread of ISIS propaganda online.