As radical terror groups such as the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL) take to social media in greater numbers to disseminate propaganda and recruit youths to their fight, YouTube is facing criticism for hosting multiple playlists featuring radical jihadi tunes that promote terrorism.
An analysis of YouTube playlists performed by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) discovered multiple YouTube playlists containing jihadi music that glorifies terrorism and groups such as IS, al Qaeda, and Hamas.
"Just like finding playlists on YouTube of certain genres of music or a certain artist, group or composer, any user can also listen to hours of jihadi music videos replete with images of fighting, glorification of terrorist leaders and organizations, and outright support of [Foreign Terrorist Organizations] such as ISIS or Hamas," according to MEMRI.
"These playlists are homemade productions, likely put together by youthful enthusiasts, and relying on individuals posting videos who use names like ‘1 Khilafah Production,’ ‘Son of Bosnia,’ and ‘WegZumParadiesNr3,’" according to the report.
One playlist discovered by MEMRI included music that celebrates the radical exploits of IS and al Qaeda, as well as Syrian rebels and other global jihadist groups.
"Many of the videos are promoted with labels such as ‘the splendid Jihadis Nasheed (song)’ or ‘most beautiful encouraging jihadis video,’ according to MEMRI.
The music is meant to inspire jihadists already fighting in the Middle East and provide an entrée into radicalism for newer recruits following social media accounts associated with IS and other groups.
YouTube has been inconsistent in policing this type of content, according to MEMRI.
"This is a recurring issue on YouTube: certain ISIS videos are removed but others, supposedly less objectionable ones but still promoting an organization that beheads, slaughters, crucifies, and encourages others to do the same, remain in place," according to the report. "Many of the remaining songs are indeed just Salafi songs promoting the Salafi Islamist religious worldview without an overt connection to existing terrorist groups."