ISIS Online

The Project

Digital communications technologies have become a critical tool for modern terrorist organizations. Not only do groups like the Islamic State utilize the internet to disseminate their propaganda and communicate their aims to supporters, various virtual platforms have also been used to recruit members and facilitate terrorist plots around the world. Analysis of the "digital toolkit" used by violent extremist organizations can illuminate the overall functions, goals, and ideologies of specific groups, their supporters, and the broader movements behind them.

Following the release of the report ISIS in America: From Retweets to Raqqa, in December 2015, the Program on Extremism spearheaded an initiative tracing extremist digital communications over time. At present, the project focuses data collection on multiple platforms, including Twitter and Telegram, with the aim of understanding how activity on these platforms links to  online networks and trends. As a result of this intiative, the Program on Extremism has collected one of the largest time-bound databases of pro-Islamic State English Twitter accounts and a complementary database on Telegram. 

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The American IS Twitter Scene Inside the IS Echo Chamber- Twitter Inside the IS Echo Chamber-Telegram  About the Telegram Tracker


Telegram Tracker

Telegram Tracker Fall 2017


From June 1 to December 8, 2017, Program on Extremism researchers tracked, analyzed, and coded 604 pro-Islamic State (IS) channels containing English-language content on the messaging application Telegram.

  • The average number of channel members was 153.
  • The most popular channel had 1,605 members.
  • 63.2% of channels were private channels, 36.8% were public channels.
  • On these channels, IS supporters shared: 
    • 48,819 photos,
    • 20,443 files and documents 
    • 16,933 URL links, 
    • 7,232 videos,
    • 2,612 audio recordings, 
    • 596 voice messages.
  • IS' military activities in Syria and Iraq were discussed in English on 61% of channels, while 47% discussed IS affiliate activities, 13% discussed IS non-military activities, 18% discussed news and events in North America and Europe, 14% discussed cybersecurity and 11% discussed IS attacks in North America and Europe.
  • 41% of channels shared links to other channels, and 33% shared religious material in English.
  • The most frequently used external filesharing site was

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