Twitter Inc. is being sued by the widow of an American killed in Jordan who accuses the social media firm of giving a voice to Islamic State.
Tamara Fields, a Florida woman whose husband, Lloyd, died in the Nov. 9 attack on the police training center in Amman, said Twitter knowingly let the militant Islamist group use its network to spread propaganda, raise money and attract recruits, Reuters reported.
Lawyers specializing in terrorism said Fields faces an uphill battle, though the case could lead to more calls for social media firms such as Twitter and Facebook Inc. to take down posts associated with terrorist groups.
In her complaint filed Wednesday, Fields said San Francisco-based Twitter had until recently given Islamic State, also known as ISIS, an “unfettered” ability to maintain official Twitter accounts.
“Without Twitter, the explosive growth of ISIS over the last few years into the most feared terrorist group in the world would not have been possible,” the complaint, which was filed in federal court in Oakland, California, said.
Fields wants Twitter to pay her triple damages for violating the federal Anti-Terrorism Act by having provided material support to terrorists.
Her lawyer said he believes it is the first case in which a social media firm is accused of violating that law.
Fields said Twitter aided Islamic State “knowingly or with willful blindness”, citing the company’s alleged resistance to requests from Congress, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and others to do more to keep the group offline.
“While we believe the lawsuit is without merit, we are deeply saddened to hear of this family’s terrible loss,” Twitter said in a statement.
“Violent threats and the promotion of terrorism deserve no place on Twitter and, like other social networks, our rules make that clear.”
– Contact us at [email protected]