Twitter Sued By Families Of Terrorism Victims For "Providing Services To ISIS"
Tuesday, 10 January 2017

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Lately Twitter just can't seem to get anything right.

While Jack Dorsey's social network has been frequently in the news for cracking down on outspoken members of the "alt-right", or those accused of harrassment such as Martin Shkreli most recently, it has also been accused of taking a soft hand on those who post real threats, such as terrorist who use the social network to coordinate attacks.

A 2014 article in The Atlantic titled "How ISIS Games Twitter" described how "extremists of all stripes are increasingly using social media to recruit, radicalize and raise funds."

Which is also why a lawsuit was filed against Twitter by families of three Americans killed during ISIS attacks in France and Belgium, claiming the social media platform played "a uniquely essential role in the development of ISIS' image, its success in recruiting members from around the world, and its ability to carry out attacks and intimidate its enemies."

In the lawsuit, which argues that Twitter violated the Anti-Terrorism Act, the vicitms families' also accuse Twitter of “refusing to actively identify ISIS Twitter accounts, and only reviewing accounts reported by other Twitter users" and further allege that "Twitter provides services to ISIS that, among other things, substantially assist and contribute to ISIS’s ability to carry out its terrorist activities."

They add that terrorists have "used Twitter to specifically threaten France and Belgium that they would be attacked for participating in a coalition of nations against” Islamic State.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for Southern District of New York, seeks punitive damages for deaths of two victims of terrorist attacks “in an amount sufficient to deter Twitter and others from similar future wrongful conduct,” according to court filing.

However, as Business Insider notes, a similar lawsuit accusing Twitter of providing support to ISIS was dismissed by a California judge in August 2016. Twitter is currently facing another similar lawsuit by family members of victims killed in the June 2016 attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Twitter began cracking down on accounts related to ISIS in the summer of 2015, when it suspended 125,000 accounts in one fell swoop. In August 2016, the company said it had suspended a total of 350,000 accounts related to ISIS since mid-2015.

The plaintiffs, however, find Twitter's efforts have not been enough and allege that the company has "continued to provide these resources and services to ISIS and its affiliates, refusing to actively identify ISIS Twitter accounts, and only reviewing accounts reported by other Twitter users." The suit argues that  "simply put, ISIS uses Twitter as a tool and a weapon of terrorism."

 



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