The Islamic State (IS) maintained a fake news network that imitated genuine profiles of media giants. The ISIS support group, called “War and Media”, created false agency profiles CNN e Al Jazeera on various social networks.

The information was released yesterday (17) by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD). According to the organization, WM started out tiny, with a Telegram channel. Two weeks later, I already had two accounts on Facebook, YouTube and X (formerly Twitter).

These accounts pretended to be legitimate Facebook profiles. CNN e Al Jazeerapublished edited videos and documentaries that were intended to appear to be authentic content produced by the American network and the global network that has versions in English and Arabic.

Fake “CNN 24” YouTube channel created and maintained by War and Media. (Image: ISD Global/Reproduction)Source: ISD Global/Reproduction

WM’s strategy of creating fake news with edited material was not new. However, the approach using profiles meticulously created to imitate renowned news agencies was an innovation for the group.

They managed to bombard the internet through the three social networks and even produced a video with the Netflix brand, in response to the film Mosul, released by the platform.

War and Media’s “counterattack” strategy

War and Media had a bold strategy to disseminate Islamic State ideologies. The group focused on “combating fake news” through edited material published by real news agencies. Much of this information was precisely about IS.

WM was active for a short time, but surprisingly managed to circumvent the moderations of three of the largest social networks in the world.

Although the group had a relatively small number of followers, it was found that individual profiles often downloaded the videos and reshared them, achieving enormous visibility online.

Video AI-generated fake anchor from the News Harvest faction.  (Image: Intelligence Group/Reproduction)Video AI-generated fake anchor from the News Harvest faction. (Image: Intelligence Group/Reproduction)Source: Intelligence Group/Reproduction

The tactics used by War and Media are similar to those used by the Russian government with the aim of conveying untrue information. They even infiltrated agents in legitimate campaigns, posing as activists who were against the cause, creating terror and chaos with messages of hate and violence.

According to the website Intelligence Groupwhich tracks terrorist and extremist campaigns online, the ISIS-supporting media group “News Harvest” uses AI to spread hateful messages.

Technology allows the creation and mass sharing of false information quickly and cheaply. The videos created by the faction even have fake, AI-generated news anchors.


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