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Transparency Report for Year One of the Terrorist Content Analytics Platform (TCAP)

We are delighted to announce the publication of our first Transparency Report for the Terrorist Content Analytics Platform (TCAP). The TCAP is a tool developed by Tech Against Terrorism which identifies, verifies, and alerts terrorist content to tech platforms for removal. The platform has been funded by Public Safety Canada.

The TCAP is developed using a transparency-by-design approach. This is the first TCAP transparency report, which is one of several initiatives Tech Against Terrorism has taken in compliance with our core principles. The report provides a detailed breakdown of the core metrics for the report period between 1 December 2020 and 30 November 2021, and of key TCAP policies and processes.

On the occasion of the publication of the first TCAP transparency report, Tech Against Terrorism Founder and Director Adam Hadley said:

“This report once again confirms that terrorist groups predominantly exploit a wide range of smaller platforms, but it also shows that tech platforms will do the right thing and remove terrorist material if provided with appropriate support. This further proves that our focus has to be on providing support mechanisms to platforms to ensure positive impact.”

“The report findings showcase the urgent need for governments to improve designation of far-right terrorist groups. Unfortunately a tool like TCAP – and many tech platforms – will not be able to scale its removal of far-right terrorist content unless governments lead the way in providing legal clarity around far-right terrorism, such as via designation mechanisms.”

Anne Craanen, Senior Research Analyst and TCAP Policy Lead, said:

“Transparency is a key principle at Tech Against Terrorism, and by publishing this report we hope to raise the bar in terms of providing transparency in the online counterterrorism sector. Not only does this report provide valuable insights into terrorist online propaganda dissemination techniques, it also promotes trust and accountability. We encourage all tech companies, industry initiatives, and governments to be transparent about their online counterterrorism efforts.”

Summary of key findings in the report

The TCAP Transparency Report covers a wide range of data which the TCAP team have collected and analysed since the launch of TCAP. During this reporting period:

  • The TCAP sent 11,074 alerts to 65 tech companies, 94% of which is now offline.
  • The TCAP alerted 10,959 pieces official verified content from designated Islamist terrorist groups, 94% of which was removed following alerts. The vast majority of this content was located on smaller file-sharing services (8,634) and web archiving websites (1243). The three groups which the TCAP alerted most content for were:
Terrorist Group Alerts % of total alerts Inactive % Offline % Online
1. Islamic State (IS) 4364 40% 3847 88% 12%
2. Al-Shabab 2325 21% 2313 99% 1%
3. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian
Peninsula (AQAP)
2450 22% 2404 98% 2%
  • The TCAP alerted 115 pieces of official verified far-right terrorist content, 50% of which was removed following alerts. The majority of this content was located on video-sharing (49) and archiving (43) platforms. The three groups and entities which the TCAP alerted most content for were:
Terrorist Group Alerts % of total alerts Inactive % Offline % Online
1. Christchrch attack
perpetraor
59 51% 26 44% 56%
2. Atomwafen Division 22 19% 14 64% 36%
3. National Socialist
Order (NSO)
11 10% 3 27% 73%
  • The discrepancy in numbers is due to different online propaganda dissemination techniques deployed by far-right and Islamist terrorist groups, and due to there being fewer far-right terrorist groups designated by democratic nation states which limits our content collection scope.
  • In total we alerted verified designated terrorist content to 13 different type of tech platforms. Most content was located on file-sharing (8,334), archiving (1,286), and link shortener (514) platforms.
  • Link shortening, photo-sharing, video hosting, audio streaming platforms, and web hosting platforms removed 100% of verified terrorist content alerted via the TCAP. Archiving platforms were the least responsive, removing 59% of TCAP alerts.
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