In rural Washington state, 24-year-old Alex began communicating with members of the Islamic State last August via Twitter.

 

She reached out to them first out of curiosity, and then continued to chat with them as a way to fill the loneliness and boredom of her life in a town of 3,000 people, where she works only part-time and where her main pass-time is going to the mall.

 

“They were online all the time, always available,” she said. “And they were nice to me.”

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