They add you on twitter, become your friend, your pal, your confidant. Then they start slipping in ideals, explaining why their believes are superior. You want to change, because it seems like they care for you, and you care for them. So you do. And then you do what they tell you, willingly.
In the past months there have been two British cases have that show how the Islamic State has used young adults to put its terrorist plans into action. A 17-year-old from northern England became Britain's youngest suicide bomber in an IS attack in Iraq, and three sisters abandoned their husbands and are believed to have taken their nine children to join the militants in Syria.
An estimate of 5,000 people from Western Europe are thought to have traveled to Syria and Iraq, many to join the Islamic State.
But how does ISIS get a hold of these people and convince them so well?
They become their best friend.
This video, by the New York Times shows an example of how one 23-year old was converted to Islam and became involved with an after she developed a friendship with a man who was part of the ISIS terrorist group. It’s pretty shocking to hear how the relationship has developed, and how she considers the man her friend.
A report by U.S the Brookings Institution estimated in March there were at least 46,000 Twitter accounts supporting IS and possibly as many as 90,000. That’s a lot of connection they could be making in a short amount of time.
The small police team in Europe has decided to go after the ISIS on Twitter. They will scour the internet and try to take down accounts of ringleaders. But not everything goes undetected. So is that enough?
Education could be one of the solutions. But understanding the difference between a social experience online, and a manipulative predator can be a difficult task. Something that we’ve seen happen online, over and over again.
Also, try to avoid responding to twitter hashtags like #AmessagefromISIStoUS (no really, they’ve done this). And also just being a friend to those who might be led astray.