Despite what some anonymous commenters have said here when we've mentioned ISIS using twitter as a tool to recruit and communicate, namely that this is " right wing propaganda", we know better. Anyone who works with the social network on a less superficial level has seen that there's plenty of unsavoury characters hanging around, including, but not limited to, those who spread ISIS propaganda and use the tool to recruit and communicate with people. With twitters "nearby" feature one can zoom into conversations happening where one is, bypassing loud worldwide hashtags about a scientist's rockabilly shirt, and instead finding the local gossip in Paris, for example. Hashtags like #باريس_تشتعل ( vine) don't get quite the same media attention as #BrusselsLockdown's cat pictures did for various reasons.
The lawsuit against Twitter is being filed by the family of an American defense contractor who was gunned down in November while training security forces in Jordan. ISIS took credit for the killing. The lawsuit claims that the company has knowingly allowed terrorist groups such as ISIS to use its social network to spread extremist propaganda.
The suit doesn't hold back, it 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," and it continues:
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. According to the Brookings
Institution, ISIS “has exploited social media, most notoriously Twitter, to send its propaganda and messaging out to the world and to draw in people vulnerable to radicalization.” Using Twitter,
“ISIS has been able to exert an outsized impact on how the world perceives it, by disseminating images of graphic violence (including the beheading of Western journalists and aid workers) . . .
while using social media to attract new recruits and inspire lone actor attacks.” According to FBI Director James Comey, ISIS has perfected its use of Twitter to inspire small-scale individual
attacks, “to crowdsource terrorism” and “to sell murder.”
Twitter has according to this lawsuit, thus been instrumental in the growth of ISIS, surely not the San Francisco companies intent. "Since first appearing on Twitter in 2010, ISIS accounts on Twitter have grown at an astonishing rate and, until recently, ISIS maintained official accounts on Twitter unfettered." The suit lists accounts, their number of followers, and estimates that there's 70,000 Twitter ISIS accounts, where at least 79 were "official," and that ISIS posted at least 90 tweets every minute. The full suit can be seen at NBC Bay Area.
Twitter released this statement:
"While we believe the lawsuit is without merit, we are deeply saddened to hear of this family's terrible loss. 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."
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