A woman is suing Twitter for allegedly supporting Islamic State terrorists by providing a “tool for spreading extremist propaganda”. The suit appears to have been triggered when the claimant’s husband, a private contractor for the military, was killed by militants in Jordan.
The suit claims that Twitter “purposefully, knowingly or with willful blindness” provided “material support to the preparation and carrying out of acts of international terrorism, including the attack in which Lloyd Fields Jr. was killed.” All of which is in breach of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
It is not a secret that ISIS heavily uses social media, and particularly Twitter, as a recruitment tool; although whether it uses the micro-blogging site to communicate between cells is debatable. The suit says that by allowing extremists to use the service, Twitter is knowingly allowing the group to spread propaganda and raise funds. It even goes as far as to quote several US government officials who have claimed the same thing.
Naturally, Twitter believes that the lawsuit is meritless. The company issued a statement to Ars Technica saying, “while we believe the lawsuit is without merit, we are deeply saddened to hear of this family’s terrible loss. Like people around the world, we are horrified by the atrocities perpetrated by extremist groups and their ripple effects on the Internet.”
Twitter has been working around the clock to shut down accounts it believes are linked to terrorists and other extremists. The problem lies in policing the millions of accounts, and being able to balance between terrorist propaganda and freedom of speech. Keeping the extremists off social media has also proved to be impossible as the group simply creates a new account if it gets banned; turning the entire process into an elaborate game of whack-a-mole.
[Source: Ars Technica]