Study: US, UK among top 5 countries where ISIS propaganda is most popular

(Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo)An Islamic State flag is seen in this picture illustration taken February 18, 2016.

A new study has found that the U.S. and the U.K. are among the top consumers of propaganda produced by the Islamic State terror group.

"The New Netwar" report, produced by the London-based think tank Policy Exchange, indicated that Turkey, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the U.K. were the top consumers of propaganda videos produced by ISIS.

Turkey had the most ISIS clicks overall, while the U.K. registered the largest number of clicks in Europe.

The five countries were followed by Egypt, Yemen, Algeria, Jordan, and Morocco, rounding up the top 10, with Germany coming in at No. 11.

The researchers, led by Martyn Frampton at Queen Mary University of London, warned that the talk of the terror group's decline in the virtual world has been "grossly overstated."

"The group has shown itself to be adaptable and durable — in spite of the loss of its physical strongholds — and there is a danger that the blood and treasure we have invested in Iraq and Syria will produce little more than a pyrrhic victory," the authors wrote, according to The Christian Post.

The authors noted that the terror group has released 2,000 official videos, but the number rises to 6,000 when the "wider jihadist movement" is included. The report also found that at least 100 pieces of new content is produced by ISIS in an average week, though it is often much more than that.

ISIS propaganda is often first disseminated to core followers via the Telegram messaging app, before it is released into the mainstream social media space such as Twitter, Facebook and other leading platforms, the study found.

The researchers explained that the number of people looking at ISIS propaganda in any country could be measured in the tens of thousands, and that big internet companies might be able to limit the available content, should they choose or be forced to do so.

"We are certainly not winning the war online," the authors further stated. "The spate of terrorist attacks the UK suffered in the first half of 2017 confirmed that online extremism is a real and present danger. In each case, online radicalisation played some part in driving the perpetrators to violence," it added.

The report calls on authorities to tackle jihadists presence and materials online, and also urged internet companies to do more when it comes to stopping the spread of such content.

Some world leaders have called on internet providers and social media companies to find and remove such content from their platforms.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron have proposed fines for companies that fail to remove terrorist propaganda from their websites.

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