The family of a Flordia contractor killed in a terror attack in Jordan has filed a lawsuit against Twitter claiming the social media company enabled Islamic State terrorists to spread their violent propaganda online.
Lloyd “Carl” Fields Jr., 46, was killed by a Jordanian police captain he was training at the International Police Training Center in Amman, which is operated and funded by the U.S. State Department, according to court documents filed Wednesday.
The Islamic State took credit for the Nov. 9 attack, which also claimed the life of another American contractor, NBC reported.
On Wednesday, Fields’ family filed a suit against Twitter in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, alleging the company provided “material support” that has been “instrumental in the rise of ISIS,” International Business Times reported.
“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 suit states, using an acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. “Without Twitter, the explosive growth over the last few years into the most feared group in the world would not have been possible.”
Lawyers for Fields’ wife, Tamara, claim in court filings that the terror group has an estimated 70,000 Twitter accounts, and as of 2014 was posting 90 tweets per minute.
“While we believe the lawsuit is without merit, we are deeply saddened to hear of this family’s terrible loss,” a Twitter spokesman said in a statement Wednesday, NBC reported. “Like people around the world, we are horrified by the atrocities perpetrated by extremist groups and their ripple effects on the Internet. 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.”
Twitter users submitted 1,003 content removal requests from around the world between January and June 2015, according to company transparency figures. Twitter complied with 42 percent of those requests but said it did not comply with any of the 25 requests submitted by U.S. police and government agencies, International Business Times reported.
This isn’t the first time Twitter has been accused of offering a venue for terrorists. In December, the government of Turkey fined Twitter for refusing to remove content deemed “terrorist propaganda.” Twitter responded by filing a lawsuit saying the fine was illegal.