Today, a federal court sentenced a 17-year-old Virginia resident named Ali Shukri Amin to 11 years and four months in prison for supporting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, commonly known as ISIS. Amin ran the @Amreekiwitness Twitter account, which published pro-ISIS messages to a relatively small following, as well as directing followers how to make Bitcoin donations to the group. In one effort that proved particularly crucial to the prosecution's case, Amin arranged for an ISIS supporter to travel to Syria. All of Amin's efforts were conducted from within the United States, and there's no evidence that he ever took part in violent acts or intended to do so.
ISIS has been more active on social media than previous extremist groups, with a recent Brookings Institute study cataloging no less than 46,000 affiliated Twitter accounts. The State Department has made its own efforts at a counter-extremist Twitter presence, directly engaging with many radical accounts.
"We have lost yet another young person to the allure of extremist ideology."
"Today marks a personal tragedy for the Amin family and the community as we have lost yet another young person to the allure of extremist ideology focused on hatred," said Justice Department official Andrew McCabe in a statement. "Amin’s case serves as a reminder of how persistent and pervasive online radicalization has become. The FBI, through our Joint Terrorism Task Forces, remains dedicated to protecting the United States against the ongoing violent threat posed by ISIL and their supporters."