An elite European police team is being set up to track and take down ISIS affiliated social media accounts it was announced Monday.
While Europol, the Europe-wide police agency, didn't say which networks it would target first it’s clear that the move came after a report revealed that at least 46,000 Twitter accounts are controlled by ISIS.
This marks the first move from a government organization against ISIS supporters on social media, although as we covered yesterday the FBI seems to have been carefully following the group's activities since 2013.
On March 16, hacktivist group Anonymous, which the the world's governments usually hate, released 9,200 ISIS supporter Twitter account names to put pressure on the social network to suspend them. The group released a further 25,000 account names for the same purpose.
Europol is apparently thinking that it is capable of doing better and also will be able to arrest operators who live within its borders.
ISIS, as we covered previously, is a top social media spammer, with its active accounts sending an estimate of 100,000 tweets everyday.
The formal crackdown will begin on July 1st.
Europol director Rob Wainwright said of the offensive:
We will have to combine what we see online with our own intelligence and that that is shared with us by European police services, so we can be a bit more targeted and identify who the key user accounts are… and concentrate on closing them down.
He also stated that Europol will also be hunting down money used to fund ISIS. “Where you follow the money trail, it helps find who they are, what they are doing and who their associates are,” Wainwright said.