Twitter has been sued by Floridian Tamara Fields, the widow of Lloyd Fields, an American who was killed in an ISIS attack in Jordan last year. The lawsuit accuses Twitter of letting ISIS use its platform for attracting new recruits, disseminating propaganda, and raising funds. According to Fields’ lawyer, this may be the first time a social media company has been accused of violating the Anti-Terrorism Act, a federal law.
The legal complaint was filed in California this past Wednesday, and seeks triple damages for Fields. According to the complaint, “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.”
Extremist groups like ISIS use the Internet for various purposes, and controversy exists regarding how tech companies like Twitter should handle such accounts. Many had pressed Twitter to crackdown on ISIS; in this latest complaint, the company has been accused of helping ISIS “knowingly or with willful blindness.”
Twitter has responded to the lawsuit with a statement, saying:
While we believe the lawsuit is without merit, we are deeply saddened to hear of this family’s terrible loss. Violent threats and the promotion of terrorism deserve no place on Twitter and, like other social networks, our rules make that clear. We have teams around the world actively investigating reports of rule violations, identifying violating conduct, partnering with organizations countering extremist content online, and working with law enforcement entities when appropriate.