Black-boxing the black flag: Anonymous sharing platforms and ISIS content distribution tactics

Ahmad Shehabat, Teodor Mitew

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The study examines three anonymous sharing portals employed strategically by the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) to achieve its political ends. This study argues that anonymous sharing portals such as,, and have been instrumental in allowing individual jihadists to generate content, disseminate propaganda and communicate freely while routing around filtering practiced by popular social media networks. The study draws on Actor Network Theory (ANT) in examining the relationship between ISIS jihadists and the emergence of anonymous sharing portals. The study suggests that, even though used prior to the massive degrading operation across social media, anonymous sharing portals were instrumental in allowing ISIS to maintain its networking structure in the face of coordinated disruption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-99
Number of pages19
JournalPerspectives on Terrorism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Actor network theory
  • Anonymous sharing portals
  • Black boxing
  • Degrading operation
  • Islamic state
  • Justpaste
  • Sendvid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law


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