Study Finds 300 Active ISIS Supporters Online In The U.S.

Study Finds 300 Active ISIS Supporters Online In The U.S.

Study Finds 300 Active ISIS Supporters Online In The U.S.

Approximately 300 American or U.S.-based ISIS sympathizers have been identified as active online recruiters for the terror group, according to a study released Tuesday.

Researchers at George Washington University's Program on Extremism said that the recruiters primarily use Twitter to encourage like-minded individuals to travel to Iraq or Syria to join the self-proclaimed ISIS "caliphate", or to plan attacks within the U.S.

The study said that while the number of ISIS supporters is not as large in the U.S. as in other Western countries, "ISIS-related mobilization in the United States has been unprecedented." Citing American authorities, it said approximately 250 Americans had traveled or attempted to travel to Iraq or Syria, while 900 active investigations were in progress against ISIS sympathizers in all 50 states.

In one case, the study's authors said, "[a] seemingly naive individual posted general questions about religion [on Twitter], to which ISIS supporters quickly responded in a calm and authoritative manner. After a few weeks, the accounts of hardened ISIS supporters slowly introduced increasingly ardent views into the conversation."

"The new recruit was then invited to continue the conversion privately," the authors continued, "often via Twitter's Direct Message feature or on other private messaging platforms."

 

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