LONDON — Europol, the European police agency based in The Hague, will create a new unit next month to discover and dismantle social media accounts used by Islamist radicals to spread their message and recruit foreigners, the agency announced on Wednesday.
The unit will have about 15 officers of Europol and national police forces at first, and will be gradually enlarged over the next year, the agency said. The task is to scour the Internet for accounts set up by radicals, including those from the Islamic State, for propaganda and recruitment.
The number of Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts connected to the Islamic State is estimated to be in the tens of thousands, the agency said, and the Twitter accounts send out as many as 100,000 posts a day.
In March, the Justice and Home Affairs Council of the European Union mandated that Europol establish such a unit to reduce the level and impact of terrorist and violent extremist propaganda on the Internet.
Rob Wainwright, director of Europol, said the agency would cooperate with member states, national intelligence and police agencies, and with social media and other private companies, to “deliver a determined response” to the problem.