ISIS uses Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp as ‘command and control networks of choice’

Mirror: The UK’s intelligence listening post chief Robert Hannigan said internet are ‘in denial’ over the role their networks played in terrorism


The new head of Britain’s electronic spying agency says Islamic State terrorists are using social media networks as their ‘command and control networks of choice’.

GCHQ chief Robert Hannigan said internet firms such as FacebookWhatsApp and Twitter were ‘in denial’ over the role their networks played in terrorism and said they should open themselves up more to intelligence services.

Mr Hannigan said: “GCHQ and its sister agencies, MI5 and the Secret Intelligence Service, cannot tackle these challenges at scale without greater support from the private sector, including the largest US technology companies which dominate the web.

FCO/PA WireRobert Hannigan
GCHQ chief Robert Hannigan says web firms are in denial over how they are being used and abused

“However much they may dislike it, they have become the command-and-control networks of choice for terrorists and criminals, who find their services as transformational as the rest of us.

“If they are to meet this challenge, it means coming up with better arrangements for facilitating lawful investigation by security and law enforcement agencies than we have now.”

He added: “To those of us who have to tackle the depressing end of human behaviour on the internet, it can seem that some technology companies are in denial about its misuse.

Mr Hannigan cited the fact that IS stopped short of showing actual beheadings in gruesome videos announcing the killings of Western hostages – incuding British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning – as proof of extremists’ increasing expertise in online propaganda.