Telegram Messaging App Becomes A Major Marketing Tool For Islamic State

The mobile messaging service Telegram, created by the exiled founder of Russia’s most popular social network site, has emerged as an important new promotional and recruitment platform for Islamic State.
The service, set up two years ago, has caught on in many corners of the globe as an ultra-secure way to quickly upload and share videos, texts and voice messages. It counts 60 million active
users around the world.
A new feature of Telegram that was introduced in September has become the preferred method for Islamic State to broadcast news and share videos of military victories or sermons, according to security researchers. The group used Telegram to claim responsibility for the Paris attacks, which left 129 people dead, and the bombing of a Russian airliner over Egypt last month, which killed 224.
Islamic State has made Telegram its media mouthpiece in the face of increasingly aggressive efforts to block the group from Twitter and other mainstream social media platforms.
Alex Kassirer, a counter-terrorism analyst with the New York-based private intelligence firm Flashpoint, said that IS uses Telegram broadcast channels to send releases aimed at recruitment, inspiration and motivation.
IS now has three- or four-dozen channels on Telegram functioning as a kind of press release service, said Rita Katz, director of Bethesda, Maryland.-based extremist monitoring service SITE Intelligence Group. Some channels attract tens of thousands of followers, she said, adding that IS then counts on followers using Twitter to spread its messages.
Unlike Twitter, which has shut down thousands of accounts tied to IS for violating company rules, so far Telegram has let the jihadists operate without fear of being turned off or traced, Katz said.
“The channel feature completely changed the position of Telegram in the online jihadist movement,” Katz said.
Kassirer also said that Jihadi groups seem to be able to operate uninterrupted on Telegram.
Telegram, which did not respond to requests for comment for this story.
Shortly after the first version of this story was published, Telegram said in a posting on its site that it had moved to block IS channels.
After hackers acting under the banner of Anonymous, the loose-knit collective of activist hackers, said on Saturday they were preparing to disrupt Islamic State sites, an IS-affiliated account on Telegram responded by releasing instructions on how not to get hacked, according to a tweet by an activist group called Ghost Security.

Culled From: TODAY NG