International terrorist organisation Daesh has resorted to using TikTok, the viral music app popular with teens and pre-teens, to propagate its ideology among Generation Z.
The Chinese owned social media app has reportedly removed dozens of accounts pushing Daesh propaganda in breach of its terms of service.
"This is an industry-wide challenge complicated by bad actors who actively seek to circumvent protective measures, but we have a team dedicated to aggressively protecting against malicious behaviour on TikTok," a spokeswoman for the app said in a statement.
First reported by the Wall Street Journal, following an investigation by the social media intelligence agency Storyful, videos showed Daesh fighters holding guns, female jihadist using the Arabic caption "longing for jihad" with pink flower emojis, chants and songs of loyalty in Arabic and corpses paraded through streets — some of which were edited with heart and star-themed TikTok filters in a possible attempt to make the videos more appealing to younger audiences, WSJ reported.
"The rhyme, beat, evocative lyrics and punchy delivery are especially appealing to youth," Oxford University extremism expert Elisabeth Kendall said, according to WSJ.
This catchy sing-along method for propagating ISIS [Daesh] ideology means it spreads quickly and sticks in the collective memory. It tends to be far more effective than sermons or theological debate and treatises.
This is not the first time the app has generated controversy over extremist content circulating among its users. Last year Motherboard reported that some accounts were promoting far-right material, with hashtags including the neo-Nazi slogan 1488 and videos showing people dressed as Ku Klux Klan members.
TikTok allows users to record and upload short video clips and was the third most popular downloaded app in the first quarter of this year. One in three users are under the age of 18.