Facing Online Clampdown, ISIS Promotes Presence On Canadian Messaging App Nandbox

January 21, 2020

In late December 2019, Islamic State (ISIS) media operatives using Riot.im and TamTam messaging apps posted links to the group's official media arm Nashir News Agency and pro-ISIS media groups on the Canadian messenger app Nandbox. This was done to maintain a presence on the free messaging app in response to the ongoing purge of ISIS accounts, groups, and channels on other platforms mainly Telegram, TamTam, and Riot.im, which began on November 22, 2019. However, ISIS is likely to continue publishing its content on various platforms simultaneously in an effort to "disseminate the mujahideen's media materials" and counter the massive online clampdown.

On TamTam, which is owned by the major Russian internet company Mail.Ru, ISIS's official media arm posted links to its official channel on Nandbox and urged followers to subscribe. The new Nandbox channel has 20 members so far.

Nandbox is a Canadian software-as-a-service company that owns a multi-platform messaging app by the same name that works on mobile devices. The app is easy to download from Google Play and requires an email address to be accessed. According to its website, over one million users are currently using the instant messaging service.

Nandbox on Google Play.

In another post on December 18, 2019, Nashir News on TamTam shared two Nandbox groups called "Media War," each of which had an image that included text vowing that the group will emerge "victorious" in the ongoing media war. The two groups are no longer accessible.

On the UK messaging app Riot.im, an ISIS supporter urged followers on a pro-ISIS room to use Nandbox and offered steps on how to sign up.

Warning users against activating the app using a personal phone number, he asked them to activate the app using the encrypted email service ProtonMail or by creating a "fake" email using a Telegram bot. He also shared a list including 19 links to the group's official media outlets and other pro-ISIS media groups on Nandbox.

In the same room, a pro-ISIS media group also has a channel on Nandbox that has 47 members so far. Shortly after, the group released posters threatening attacks against Christians in the West during Christmas.

Another ISIS supporter in the same room shared a pro-ISIS Nandbox group dubbed "Islamic State." The group has 11 members.

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