Tamara Fields, the widow of an American killed in Jordan, has sued Twitter for giving ISIS a platform to spread its extremist propaganda. Fields has accused the social media giant of making it easy for Islamic State jihadists to communicate dangerous propaganda, court documents say.
According to ABC News on Jan. 14: “Tamara Fields’ husband, Lloyd – an Army Veteran and who helps train police officers – died on Nov. 9, shot by a Jordanian police captain. ISIS claimed responsibility, according to the lawsuit. His widow claims Twitter knowingly allows ISIS to use it as a tool to raise money, attract recruits and spread extremist propaganda.”
The suit, filed this week in California, states: “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 reads, adding: “This material support has been instrumental to the rise of ISIS and has enabled it to carry out numerous terrorist attacks.”
In response, Twitter said Fields’ lawsuit has no merit, and offered its condolences.
“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,” the social media site said in a media statement.
Twitter said that “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.”
Still, Fields’ suit claims that at the time her husband was shot and killed, over 70,000 ISIS accounts were registered with Twitter, and tweets between them were occurring on an average of 90 per minute. Fields is seeking unspecified damages from Twitter and accuses the San Francisco-based company of violating the federal Anti-Terrorism Act.
Adds Guardian News: “Last Friday, the Obama administration set up a task force to crack down on extremist groups using the internet to advance their goals, find recruits and plan attacks, such as recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.”
Twitter has come under fire before for the allowance of terrorist tweets. In June of 2014, Twitter founder Biz Stone spoke about ISIS using Twitter:
“If you want to create a platform that allows for the freedom of expression for hundreds of millions of people around the world, you really have to take the good with the bad,” Stone said. His quote was cited in Tamara Fields’ lawsuit.