On November 7, 2014 MEMRI released a report from its Cyber & Jihad Lab (CJL) titledSoundCloud, World’s Second Biggest Streaming Music Service, Now Infested By Jihadis Sharing Al-Qaeda And Islamic State (ISIS) Content: From Al-Awlaki, Bin Laden Audio And Sermons To Al-Baghdadi, Nasheeds Espousing Jihad And Martyrdom. The report was the first to expose the widespread use of the Berlin-based audio-sharing service, known as the “YouTube of audio,” by jihadis and terror groups.
Following the report’s release, of the 26 SoundCloud accounts and posts highlighted in the report, 19 are no longer accessible. It is not certain whether they were closed by the users or shut down by SoundCloud’s administrators.
Part of the mission of the MEMRI Cyber & Jihad Lab is to research jihadi activity on social media and to examine ways to facilitate the fight against online jihad. The CJL also works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts to combat it, to educate about it, and to facilitate the crafting of appropriate solutions to it. It also strives to foster the involvement of legislatures, media, academia, and the business community in the fight against the use of social media by jihadi and terrorist groups.
This mission began with MEMRI’s inauguration of a project to wipe jihad off the Internet – an initiative that grew out of MEMRI’s research. On July 19, 2007, MEMRI held a bipartisan briefing on Capitol Hill focusing on jihadi websites hosted by U.S. ISP companies. In the weeks that followed the event, 32 of the 50 ISP companies addressed in this matter removed the jihadi sites that they were hosting. The event also produced MEMRI’s Civic Action for a Jihad-Free Internet (CAJFI) initiative, a bipartisan group comprising current and former Members of Congress, former senior administration officials, Nobel laureates, and academics. Through this initiative, MEMRI informed ISPs about the jihadist material they are hosting and promoting, and a committee of distinguished individuals advised them to remove it. Experience shows that the ISPs – which have no idea who and what they are hosting – are willing to remove the websites after being informed of their content; also, the financial incentive for hosting such websites is negligible.
In 2009, MEMRI published the first installment in its six-part series on the use of YouTube by jihadi groups and individuals and their supporters (see Deleting Online Jihad and the Case of Anwar Al-Awlaki: Nearly Three Million Viewings of Al-Awlaki’s YouTube Videos – Included Would-Be Christmas Airplane Bomber, Fort Hood Shooter, 7/7 London Bomber, and Would-Be Fort Dix Bombers). MEMRI published its first analysis of efforts by social media to remove jihadi content that they were hosting in 2012, with MEMRI Tests YouTube’s Flagging Feature For Videos Of Yemeni-American Al-Qaeda Leader Anwar Al-Awlaki, One Year After His Death – The Results: 111 Out Of 127 Remain Active.
It should be noted that by hosting jihadi and terrorist content, these social media companies are violating not only U.S. law, which bans “provid[ing] material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, or attempt[ing] or conspire[ing] to do so,” but also their own Terms of Service (TOS). For example, SoundCloud’s TOS expressly state that users “must not use the Platform to upload, post, store, transmit, display, copy, distribute, promote, make available or otherwise communicate to the public any Content that… promotes violence terrorism, or illegal acts… [or] any Content that violates, breaches or is contrary to any law, rule, regulation, court order or is otherwise is illegal or unlawful in SoundCloud’s reasonable opinion,” and warns users that they “must not commit or engage in, or encourage, induce, solicit or promote, any conduct that would constitute a criminal offence, give rise to civil liability or otherwise violate any law or regulation.”
SoundCloud’s contact information is:
SoundCloud Limited soundcloud.com
Rheinsberger Str. 76/77
Phone: +49 30 467 247 600
Email: [email protected]
Accounts In MEMRI Report That Remain Active
The accounts in the MEMRI report that remain active include:
Dekabryan (soundcloud.com/dekabryan): This account exclusively posts nasheeds about the oneness of Allah, martyrdom, and jihad. The most popular track, “Marhaban bil Maut” (“Hello to Death”) has had nearly 400 plays. At the time of the report’s publication, it had 12 tracks and 10 followers.
UmTwinz (soundcloud.com/q1400): At the time the MEMRI report was published, this account had a playlist with 23 tracks either by or about the late Yemeni-American jihadi sheikh Anwar Al-Awlaki. Thirteen of the tracks on this playlist are sermons in English by Al-Awlaki, and each of those had received 200-300 plays.
emirkhattab (soundcloud.com/emirkhattab): Beginning in October 2014, News broadcast from the ISIS radio Al-Bayyab in Mosul began to be posted on SoundCloud.
user350026218 (soundcloud.com/user350026218): As noted in the MEMRI report, jihadis on Twitter are also tweeting links to tracks on SoundCloud.