CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago college student is accused of assisting the terrorist group ISIS by writing computer code to help the group more effectively distribute propaganda on social media channels.
Thomas Osadzinski, a computer science student at DePaul University, is charged with one count of attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization.
The complaint alleges that Osadzinski designed a process that uses a computer script to make ISIS propaganda more conveniently accessed and disseminated by users on a social media platform.
Osadzinski, 20, earlier this year shared his script – and instructions for how to use it – with individuals whom he believed to be ISIS supporters and members of pro-ISIS media organizations, the complaint states. The individuals were actually FBI employees and a person confidentially working with law enforcement, according to the complaint.
ISIS uses social media to recruit fighters and inspire violence against the United States and other countries, according to federal prosecutors.
Social media platforms routinely remove ISIS content due to its violent nature. According to the complaint, Osadzinski’s computer process would automatically copy and preserve ISIS media postings in an organized format, allowing social media users to continue to conveniently access and disseminate the content.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole scheduled a detention hearing for Friday at 9:30 a.m.