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Schumer, Gillibrand Announce More Than $100k In Fed Funding For RIT Students As Part Of Effort To Counter ISIS Social Media Propaganda

Federal Funding Will Be Used To Fund “It’s Time: ExOut Extremism” Founded By A Group Of Rochester Institute of Technology Students to Counter ISIS’ Propaganda Machine

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $149,000 in federal funding for a group of Rochester Institute of Technology students to build their online social media platform. The money was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Countering Violent Extremism grant program. The students will use these funds to expand “It’s Time: ExOut Extremism,” a social media campaign to combat extremism online and create a new mobile app targeted to help eradicate online radicalization for years to come.

“In the age of ISIS-inspired-and-directed terror attacks, so much of which happens online, it is a national priority to improve our social media and efforts to address and counteract this way of communicating and persuading. And who better to conceptualize and design these efforts than the students, like these young software engineers at RIT, who grew up using them? This federal investment recognizes the creative and promising approach to counteract online extremism and Islamic radicalization developed by this wonderful and talented group of RIT students and faculty.   Keeping our citizens safe is job #1, and we should continue to encourage innovative ways like this to protect our nation from these threats,” U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer.

“New York remains a top terror target so we must make sure that critical efforts to stop extremism and radicalization have every necessary resource. This federal funding will help support RIT’s efforts to develop new online tools to prevent the growth of violent extremism through social media and a new mobile app. I’ll continue to support these new and innovative programs that work to counter ISIS social media propaganda and stop radicalization before it starts,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

Department of Homeland Countering Violent Extremism grant allocates $10 million dollars in funding for the sole purpose of countering violent extremism (CVE) and to aid states and local communities prepare for, prevent, and respond to emerging threats from violent extremism. Last June, a group of 17 RIT students beat out groups from 50 other universities to win a national competition sponsored by the U.S. State Department that invited students to develop projects to combat the social media propoganda and recruiting work of extremist terrorist groups like ISIS. RIT won for its project, titled “It’s Time ExOut Extremism” and today’s $149,000 award will enable RIT to further its work.  Specifically RIT’s initiative will aim to motivate 16-24 year olds that have demonstrated an interested in taking action against violent extremism but have not yet been encouraged to do so.