Counter-terror police shut down 1,100 extremist websites EVERY week
The vast majority belong to Islamists who are using the internet to preach hatred against Britain and the West as well as plot attacks.
However thousands more web pages avoid being removed each year and so continue to be viewed by impressionable youths.
The shock figures come as the head of MI5 Andrew Parker warned that the internet was now a vital tool for Jihadists abroad to “broadcast their message and incite and direct terrorism amongst people who live here”.
He said that the of terrorists are using sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as encrypted messages via Whatsapp, to radicalise, recruit and plot terror attacks.
Haras Rafiq, managing director of counter terror thinktank the Quilliam Foundation, said: “Social media and the internet has become a massive platform for groups such as Islamic State to publicise their twisted rhetoric.
“Individuals too, both here in the UK and abroad, get their message across in the same way and it’s something that is becoming a bigger and bigger problem.
“Every week, the police shut down 1,100 websites and social media pages because they are deemed a threat to security.
“Most of these are Islamists who are using their views to poison the minds of others but there are also pages belonging to extreme right wing groups that are also taken down.”
The Metropolitan Police, responsible for Britain’s counter-terror strategy, boast a 90 per cent success rate in closing down terrorist web pages under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA).
However as many as 5,700 terrorist web pages escape being shut down every year.
Another setback is that many jihadists slightly modify their social networking pages to enable them to pop back up.
Mr Rafiq said: “We are playing ‘whackamole’, we hit one website or web page and another pops up in its place.
“More often than not, Islamist social networking pages, particularly on Twitter, return with the odd word changed or via a different server. It’s a bit of a firefighting exercise.
“The police are taking down as many sites as they can but the sheer scale of the problem tells us that a different response is needed.
More often than not, Islamist social networking pages, particularly on Twitter, return with the odd word changed or via a different server. It’s a bit of a firefighting exercise
“We need to counter-message what groups like ISIS, who have a slick propaganda machine, are saying.
“Perhaps using disenchanted IS fighters who have seen what life is really like in Iraq and Syria would hold some weight.
“Somehow we need to amplify and empower a civil society for responses.”
Among those who have had their profile pages removed by police, social networking sites and internet service providers is Junaid Hussain, the Birmingham-born Islamic State computer hacker killed in a drone strike two months ago.
He was believed to have been recruiting Muslim youths to Islamic State through social networking sites and encrypted web pages.
Another IS militant Abdullah Al-Britanni, who boasted online of beheading his enemies and encouraged kidnappings, also had his Twitter page taken on numerous occasions before being killed in battle last year.
Meanwhile the findings of a parliamentary inquiry into the May 2013 murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby found that shortly before the attack one of the killers, Michael Adebowale, had discussed targeting a soldier on Facebook with a foreign-based extremist known as Foxtrot.