As pressure has increased from both government agencies and advertisers for major social media sites such as Google and Facebook to crack down on extremist content, resulting in a step up in their anti-extremist efforts, Islamic State supporters have moved on to using smaller Social Network Sites in order to fuel their propaganda machine.

400 platforms were used last year

According to Home Office analysis, around 400 platforms in total were used last year in order to pump out propaganda.

The findings have emerged following threats from major firms such as Unilever have threatened Facebook/Google with ad withdrawal if they do not remove the illegal content.

Advertisements make up a large portion of the revenue generated by these sites.

The Government also revealed its investment into new technology that has the ability to automatically detect IS/other extremist content before it even hits the web. Tests conducted on the technology have shown that it is able to accurately identify up to 94% of IS videos.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has recently been in California meeting with Google and a range of other major companies in order to "work out how we can best rid the internet of terrorist propaganda."

There are also potential signs of unilateral collaboration on the issue with the US Government, both Rudd, and Kirstjen Nielsen (Homeland Security Secretary) spoke together at the 2018 Digital Forum on Terrorism Prevention.

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The sharp increase in the instance of terrorist attacks on UK soil in 2017 has resulted in growing concerns among the general public over the availability of IS recruitment content, bomb-making instructions etc.

According to the Home Office, all the attacks that occurred in 2017, had to some degree, an "online component." According to the Metropolitan Police, 121,151 pieces of extremist/terrorist material was removed from the web between January and December 2016. This is a sharp increase from the beginning of the decade, the figure for 2010 & 2011 inclusive was 1,527 pieces.

£600,000 was invested by the Home Office in development of the new technology

£600,000 was invested by the Home Office in contribution to the development of the new technology. While individual social networks are also investing in their own detection technology, the accuracy of this system would mean that, in theory, the degree of accuracy would mean that out of a million videos picked on random selection, only 50 would be required to be reviewed by a person.

One of the main issues faced by authorities in the fight against terrorism last year was that the majority of these 'successful' attacks were carried out by a lone wolf, radicalised in their bedroom and often showing no obvious signs of change to those around them. The aim would be that this technology would prevent the content that radicalises (mostly young men) from even reaching a platform.