NBC News reported that Tamara Fields, the widow of slain federal contractor Lloyd Carl Fields Jr., is suing Twitter for knowingly allowing ISIS to use 70,000 accounts on its network, which abetted her husband’s murder. ISIS took credit for his death.
He was killed last fall while training a Jordanian police captain, which was part of a U.S. State Department initiative.
His widow asserts: “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 alleges that Twitter knowingly allowed ISIS operatives to amass a large following on its social media network, through numerous accounts, enabling it to establish a formative online presence to help terrorists plan and coordinate attacks. The federal complaint states:
“As of December 2014, ISIS had an estimated 70,000 twitter accounts, at least 79 of which were ‘official’, and it posted at least 90 tweets every minute.”
Fields’ suit states that one ISIS account has nearly 20,000 followers as of June, 2014. Her suit also cites problems with Twitter’s ability to shut down terrorist accounts, which can easily be re-opened using an altered Twitter handle. And, it references Twitter’s lax response to federal government pressure to curb terrorists using its network.
It’s no secret that ISIS has been using Twitter accounts to find new recruits, raise financial and other support, and reach people through its Direct Message function.
A Twitter spokesperson responded to questions about her suit in a statement, claiming her lawsuit carries no weight, and Twitter is “saddened to hear of this family’s terrible loss.” The company also stated it prohibits “violent threats” and “promotion of terrorism” on Twitter. It also claims to have teams “investigating reports of rule violations,” who are also working with law enforcement to squash terrorist-related content.
It’s unclear how many ISIS-related accounts remain open. Not to mention how many have been permanently closed or reopened under new accounts.
It’s hard to believe with Twitter’s algorithmic technology that it is having such difficulty blocking terrorists from using its site.