The family of a 46-year-old former Florida Sheriff killed while providing police training in the Middle East has sued Twitter, claiming the company “knowingly permitted” ISIS accounts to spread extremist propaganda.
According to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, Lloyd “Carl” Fields Jr. and another American were shot and killed as contractor for DynCorp International by a Jordanian police captain at the International Police Training Center in Amman.
ISIS took credit for the shooting spree, which also resulted in the death of three students at the school. The political motive for the attack was revenge against Jordan for assuming a high-level role in the U.S.-led military campaign against the Islamic State, which controls huge swaths of neighboring Syria and Iraq
The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security and Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement funded the school primarily to train and equip regional law enforcement security officers. DynCorp was hired as “private military contractors,” or PMC’s.
With 25,000 employees, DynCorp is the largest PMC operating in the Middle East. Despite allegations of poor performance, it has raked in more than two-thirds of the $4 billion the State Department has spent rebuilding Afghanistan in recent years, according to the Washington nonprofit watchdog group Project on Government Oversight.
A similar competitor to DynCorp named G.R.S. provided security and other services to the State Department Consulate in Benghazi that was attacked by al Qaida in 2012 is a major competitor. The smash hit-movie 13 Hours documents the four extremist attacks in one evening and the heroic exploits of six American contractors that fought off four extremist attacks, but which ultimately led to the death U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
The family of Lloyd Carl Fields Jr., alleges in the lawsuit that Twitter, by allowing 70,000 ISIS accounts that were sending 90 tweets a minute, played a role in the November 9, 2014 attack: “For years, Twitter has knowingly permitted the terrorist group ISIS to use its social network as a tool for spreading extremist propaganda, raising funds and attracting new recruits.”
The family’s lawsuit further alleges, “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 plaintiffs also claim that Twitter’s “willful blindness” to ISIS activities on the social network amount to “material support to the preparation and carrying out of acts of international terrorism, including the attack in which Lloyd Fields Jr. was killed.”
Twitter officials expressed sympathy for the Fields family, but called the lawsuit “meritless.” Twitter also denied claims that it had failed to monitor and suspend terrorists use of their social media platform. Twitter added, “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.”
But one of the issues that may work in the Fields family’s claims is that with the stock price of Twitter falling 42 percent from a high of $69 to about $40 in 2014, the Board of Directors was beating on CEO Dick Costello to make the user base grow in order to push the company’s stock price back up. Undoubtedly there will be a huge number of emails between executives and Wall Street analysts that the company was doing absolutely everything possible to recruit more users in the Middle East.
As Breitbart News reported in “Twitter Plunges from #3 to #7 in Social Media Popularity,” November 2014 was a period of crisis for the company. Seven months later, CEO Costello would be fired for failure to grow users.
Since the attack on Fields, Twitter has dropped from the #3 most popular social media site, behind Facebook and Instagram, to #7 behind Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. Twitter is also currently on the verge of being eclipsed by Whisper, Dating App, and Tumblr.