Anti-Islamic State (ISIS) Media Outlet: Much 'Unofficial' Pro-ISIS Media Is Run By Undercover Operatives Of Official Media

May 13, 2024

On May 3, 2024, an anti-Islamic State (ISIS) channel on the Al-Qaeda-operated Rocket.Chat server published a post alleging that many of the unofficial social media accounts supporting ISIS are actually managed by operatives of the organization's official media bureau, noting that ironically, those operatives are occasionally accused of undermining the official media or of being spies by supporters unaware of their identities.

According to the post, anyone who thinks the activity of official ISIS media operatives is limited to "publishing statements, videos, and newspapers" is a "fool." In addition to those official activities, operatives are active in unofficial pro-ISIS channels and groups under assumed names, where they provide guidance to supporters, post political opinions not suitable for publication on official media, and offer warnings to supporters. All these activities help them "make the servants obedient and monopolize opinion." An "amusing paradox" happens when official media operatives publish orders or news not released via official channels, presenting them as official, and are then accused by supporters of undermining the official media or of being spies and intelligence operatives.

As an example, the channel posted a May 2020 letter sent by the deputy emir of ISIS's Central Media Bureau, to an operative, forbidding him to open an official channel offering guidance to ISIS women held in eastern Syrian camps run by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), warning that their security will be harmed when the SDF and international intelligence agencies discover they are in contact with official ISIS operatives. Instead, the deputy emir suggested, the same guidance can be provided via unofficial channels run by supporters vouched for by the official media. The letter recommended disseminating tips via two pro-ISIS channels, noting that they were linked to ISIS's Syria Province and vouched for by the Central Media Bureau.

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