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Families of men slain by ISIS gunman told: No, you can't sue Twitter

Judge dismisses lawsuit that claimed social site provided support to terror scumbags

By Iain Thomson, 11 Aug 2016

A lawsuit claiming Twitter provided "material support" to medieval terror bastards ISIS has been shut down by a California court.

The suit was brought by the families of defense contractors Lloyd "Carl" Fields, Jr and James Damon Creach, who were both teaching newbie cops at a police training center in Jordan when they were shot and killed by an ISIS follower.

A Jordanian policeman training at the facility smuggled in a rifle and two handguns, and gunned down five people, including Fields and Creach, before being shot and killed himself.

The families of the two slain Americans sued Twitter, claiming that the social network had allowed ISIS to set up propaganda-spreading accounts and that it provided a messaging service that was used to coordinate terrorist attacks. The families sought compensatory damages from Twitter.

The San Francisco-based biz fought back and asked the judge to throw out the case. That request was granted on Wednesday.

"As horrific as these deaths were, under the [US Communications Decency Act] Twitter cannot be treated as a publisher or speaker of ISIS's hateful rhetoric and is not liable under the facts alleged. Twitter's motion to dismiss is granted with leave to amend," wrote [PDF] Judge William Orrick in his ruling.

The plaintiffs submitted no evidence that Twitter was directly involved in radicalizing the attacker, or that he had been contacted over the social media platform to coordinate the murders in late 2015. However, the lawsuit claimed that Twitter had "knowingly permitted ... ISIS to use its social network as a tool for spreading extremist propaganda, raising funds and attracting new recruits."

Judge Orrick said that the plaintiff's suit didn't prove its case that Twitter was liable for messages that are contained on its platform, nor that it hadn't done anything to try and stop terrorists using its services. In the past few years, Twitter has deleted thousands of accounts linked to terrorist propaganda, but more spring up within hours.

The families now have 20 days to file an appeal. The initial verdict is good news not only for Twitter, but potentially for Facebook and Google, too. The trio face a lawsuit on similar grounds from the family of the sole American killed in last year's Paris shootings. ®

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