Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Islamic State is using TikTok to spread propaganda videos, report says

Some of the videos reportedly used TikTok filters like hearts and stars.

Carrie Mihalcik Senior Editor / News
Carrie is a Senior Editor at CNET focused on breaking and trending news. She's been reporting and editing for more than a decade, including at the National Journal and CurrentTV.
Expertise Breaking News, Technology Credentials
  • Carrie has lived on both coasts and can definitively say that Chesapeake Bay blue crabs are the best.
Carrie Mihalcik
2 min read

With over a billion downloads on Android and iOS, TikTok is a fast-growing social network.

Joel Saget / AFP/Getty Images

Islamic State militants have reportedly turned to TikTok, a social video app popular among teens, to post short propaganda videos. Some of the videos, now removed, showed corpses paraded through streets, Islamic State fighters with guns and women declaring they're "jihadist and proud," according to a report Monday from The Wall Street Journal. Some of the posts also reportedly used TikTok filters to overlay things like hearts and stars on the short videos.

The IS posts came from approximately two dozen accounts identified by social media intelligence company Storyful, according from The Journal. TikTok reportedly removed the IS videos and canceled the accounts responsible for posting them.

The Islamic State and other extremist organizations have long used social media to recruit new members and spread their message. Google said it reviewed more than 1 million suspected terrorist videos

on YouTube in the first three months of 2019. Some large tech companies -- including Facebook, Twitter, Google's YouTube and Microsoft -- have agreed to share a database of images and videos that promote terrorism in an attempt to curb their spread online. 

TikTok said that content promoting terrorist organizations has "absolutely no place" on its platform. 

"We permanently ban any such accounts and associated devices as soon as identified, and we continuously develop ever-stronger controls to proactively detect suspicious activity," said a TikTok spokesperson in an emailed statement. "This is an industry-wide challenge complicated by bad actors who actively seek to circumvent protective measures, but we have a team dedicated to aggressively protecting against malicious behavior on TikTok."

It's unclear how widespread videos from the two dozen IS accounts were on TikTok before their removal. Some accounts had more than 1,000 followers, according to the Journal, and one video featuring glamorous shots of fighters had 68 likes. 

Originally published Oct. 21, 12:04 p.m. PT. 
Update, 12:32 p.m. PT: Adds comment from TikTok.
Update, Oct. 22: Adds more information about the removed IS videos.

Watch this: Microsoft warns of Windows 10 vulnerabilities, scammers target TikTok