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Internet trolls spam Daesh telegram channel with porn

ANKARA, TURKEY - AUGUST 7: The logo of instant messaging platform "Telegram" is displayed on a smartphone in Ankara, Turkey on August 7, 2020 [Ali Balıkçı - Anadolu Agency]
The logo of instant messaging platform "Telegram" is displayed on a smartphone in Ankara, Turkey on August 7, 2020 [Ali Balıkçı - Anadolu Agency]

Internet trolls have caused chaos by spamming Daesh (ISIS) Telegram channels with pornography, a tweet by Cole Bunzel, a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, claims.

“Frustration building in ISIS Telegram as an unwanted guest keeps dropping pornography into the chat and the moderator is MIA”, Bunzel wrote, quoting the respondents as saying, “I tried to delete him and his messages and I couldn’t. Where’s the moderator?”

It was not immediately clear who was behind the spam, though Al Arabiya reported there was no evidence it was linked to the most recent attack on Daesh social media channels, which took place in 2016.

That year an anonymous hacker, known as Wauchula Ghost, spammed the numerous Daesh Twitter accounts after one of the group’s supporters attacked a gay night club in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 and injuring 53 more.

In 2016, the Wauchula Ghost user hacked hundreds of Daesh social media accounts, initially replacing imagery and messaging with pornography and later turning to gay pride paraphernalia after the Orlando attack.

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Speaking to CNN, the hacker, who is part of the online group called ‘Anonymous’, said the naked images were chosen to cause maximum offence.

“We started to take over their accounts with porn and gay pride images basically just to troll them,” the hacker said during a phone call with CNN, adding, “we thought that putting the naked images would offend them.”

The part-time hacker went on to explain how he could typically access Daesh accounts in under 60 seconds due to the limited technical abilities of the extremist organisation’s supporters.

Wauchula Ghost also slammed platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for their slow removal of extremist content, arguing that the social media giants should be doing more to counter Daesh and other groups use of their applications.

Telegram, however, has moved to target Daesh propaganda circulated via its messaging service, according to the executive director and founder of SITE intelligence group, Rita Katz.

In November 2019, Telegram launched an account-removal campaign targeting Daesh accounts as well as the channels and chat groups that peddled the organisation’s propaganda.

The campaign forced the organisation’s supporters to move to other, lesser known, applications, such as Hoop and Riot, Katz said in December last year. It is not clear, however, when Daesh supporters returned to the messaging platform.

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