The family of a U.S. man killed in a suspected terrorist attack in Jordan is suing Twitter for “knowingly” allowing ISIS to attract new recruits, propagate information, and raise funds through the social network.
Lloyd Carl Fields Jr., a 46-year-old Florida-based contractor, was one of two Americans killed at an international police training center in Jordan, where Fields was helping to train new recruits. Little information has been released by Jordanian authorities in the wake of the attack, so it’s not clear who was behind the attack and what the motives were.
The lawsuit, Fields v. Twitter Inc., 16-00213, was filed at the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California on Wednesday, reported the San Jose Mercury News. The lawsuit states:
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. 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.
Tamara Fields, the widow of Fields Jr., is seeking unspecified damages from Twitter.
Twitter has provided an official response to the lawsuit, noting that it believed it to be “without merit.” As reported by Bloomberg:
While we believe the lawsuit is without merit, we are deeply saddened to hear of this family’s terrible loss. Violent threats and the promotion of terrorism deserve no place on Twitter and, like other social networks, our rules make that clear.
The social network is no stranger to controversy around its use by terrorist organizations. Back in December, Twitter was fined $50,000 by Turkish authorities for failing to remove “terrorist propaganda.” Twitter didn’t pay the fine, however, and responded by filing a lawsuit against the authorities.
While Twitter has deleted accounts of known terrorist groups, the ease and speed with which new accounts spring up makes it difficult for the social network to monitor at all times. That Twitter is now being directly blamed for an incident in which it had no direct role is telling, too, as victims look for someone to blame in a global war that’s showing little sign of easing.