The family members of three Americans killed by Islamic State attacks in France and Belgium are suing social media company Twitter, claiming that the company failed in its responsibility to prevent terrorist organisations from utilising their platform.
Business Insider reports that a lawsuit filed on January 8th in New York states claims Twitter has played “a uniquely essential role in the development of ISIS’s image, its success in recruiting members from around the world, and its ability to carry out attacks and intimidate its enemies.” Attorneys for the families stated that Twitter has potentially violated the Anti-Terrorism Act and seek “compensatory damages in amounts to be determined at trial.”
The suit alleges that Twitter 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.” It further says, “Simply put, ISIS uses Twitter as a tool and a weapon of terrorism,”
This is not the first time that Twitter has been accused of allowing terrorist organisations to use their platform as a means of communication and recruitment. The family of a 46-year-old former Florida sheriff killed while providing police training in the Middle East sued Twitter in January 2016, claiming that the company “knowingly permitted” ISIS accounts to spread extremist propaganda. In June 2016, the father of a victim of the Paris terrorist attacks sued Facebook, Google, and Twitter for allegedly allowing terrorists to co-ordinate via their platforms.