Twitter recently won a bid to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the widow of an American who was killed in Jordan, according to a ruling on Wednesday. The lawsuit accused the micro-blogging site of giving a voice to the Islamic State.
Communications Decency Act protects online platforms
U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick in San Francisco reasoned that providing a platform that gives voice to someone is within the law, and Twitter itself does not create any content that is against the law. Orrick ruled that the micro-blogging site cannot be held responsible for the rhetoric of the Islamic State. However, the judge did give the plaintiff a chance to file an amended lawsuit again.
Orrick called the deaths “horrific” but agreed with the social network and said the federal law protects it from liability for the content that third parties publish on its network. All online platforms are protected from being held responsible for what the users post by the Communications Decency Act.
Tamara Fields of Florida said that the micro-blogging site was knowingly allowing the Islamist militant group to use its network to raise money, spread propaganda and attract recruits. Earlier this year, Fields said in her complaint that the San Francisco-based social network had given ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, an “unfettered” ability to manage official accounts on the platform.
Is Twitter promoting terrorism?
According to court documents, the families of two government contractors who were killed late last year while working in a police training center run by the United States in Amman filed a lawsuit in San Francisco federal court against the micro-blogging site. The two American men were shot to death by a Jordanian police captain studying at the center. The judge recounted in his ruling that IS militants later claimed that the captain was a “lone wolf” working for their cause.
The lawsuit said the explosive growth of the Islamic State as the most-feared terrorist group in the world over the last few years would not have been possible without Twitter. Previously, the social network said the lawsuit was without merit but that the promotion of terrorism and violent threats deserve no place on the platform, and like other social networking sites, their rules make that certain.
A Twitter representative and attorneys for Fields could not be reached for comment immediately. Social networking sites, including Twitter, have been facing pressure to crack down on online propaganda associated with terrorism.