Tamara Fields, the widow of an American man who was killed in a terrorist attack in Jordan last year, is suing Twitter for giving a voice to the Islamic State (IS), hoping legal action will add pressure to the social media company to crack down on the IS propaganda and recruitment.
Her husband, Lloyd Fields, was killed in the November 9 attack on a police training center in Amman, Jordan.
In her complaint filed on Wednesday, Fields asserts that Twitter knowingly “let the militant Islamist group use its network to spread propaganda, raise money, and attract recruits,” according to Vice News.
"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," Fields wrote in the complaint, which was filed in a federal court in Oakland, California.
Twitter responded with a comment on the case, expressing sorrow for Fields and her family through the ordeal, but maintained that they held no guilt in the dead of her husband.
"While we believe the lawsuit is without merit, we are deeply saddened to hear of this family's terrible loss," Twitter said in a statement about the civil lawsuit. "Violent threats and the promotion of terrorism deserve no place on Twitter and, like other social networks, our rules make that clear."
Lawyers familiar with these kinds of cases say that this could be an uphill battle—but it’s an important call to action that could push companies like Twitter and Facebook to take down posts associated with terrorism.
David Greene, civil liberties director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation digital rights group, said that Fields and her case could bring new light to the anti-terrorism law.
"With this, the claim is not that you are reaching out or doing something special" for an entity identified as a terrorist group, he said. "This is that they (Twitter) need to stop providing (IS) with the same service they provide the rest of the world."
Fields’ lawyer, Joshua Arisohn, said that there is a definite chance she could win if they can show the activity on Twitter had a substantial factor in her late husband’s death — especially if it could have been prevented by deleting or suspending such accounts.
"Given the significant support that Twitter has knowingly provided to ISIS over the years, we're confident that we can meet this standard," Arisohn said in an email.
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