Η research, which was carried out by Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), discovered about 288 accounts linked to a specific ISIS network over a period of three months. These accounts were able to find gaps in automated and manual systems Facebook and managed to spread their propaganda.
The network bears the name Fuouaris Upload. According to the researchers who discovered it, many of the accounts had thousands of followers, while about a third of them were managed by the same user, known as "Luqmen Ben Tachafin».
How did the accounts manage to avoid detection?
ISIS's Facebook accounts have been used for illegal activities such as account highjacking, content disclosure, coordinated raids on Facebook pages, hashtag violations and more. The videos shared by the team managed to collect a total of more than 34.000 views.
Some of them video addressed other terrorists, teaching them how to exploit security protocols and Facebook accounts. The researchers also discovered a video that described how a bomb was created in one account which appeared to be from Indonesia.
To avoid being detected by Facebook, the creators of the accounts make several modifications to their content, changing their text or using punctuation marks, blurring the name of ISIS and using effects in their videos.
According to the study, the ISIS network on Facebook planned and attempted "raids" on popular Facebook pages, some of which belonged to military and political leaders of the USA. One of them was even on the page of US President Donald Trump.
Facebook said most of the accounts had been removed and the rest were under review.
"We do not tolerate terrorist propaganda on our platform and remove content and accounts that violate our policy as soon as we recognize them," said a Facebook spokesman. However, as the researchers note, Facebook needs to be more effective and constantly update its surveillance policies.