Judge Skeptical of Widow’s Claim Twitter Aided Terrorist Group ISIS

A federal judge said he’ll probably dismiss a lawsuit against Twitter Inc. by the widow of a man killed at a police training center in Jordan that accused the social network of knowingly allowing the Islamic State to spread its terrorist message through its service.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco said at a hearing Wednesday he wasn’t convinced that the mere action by Islamic State of opening accounts, “and not necessarily using them to recruit,” was a basis for claiming that Twitter violated the federal Anti-Terrorism Act. The judge said he’s inclined to let the widow revise and refile her complaint.

While a lawyer for the widow argued to the judge there was “no doubt” the social network platform “permitted ISIS to spread its lies and plan its attacks,” Twitter’s lawyer contended the allegations don’t meet the legal threshold of causation.

“Twitter is not providing material support to terrorists,” said the company’s attorney, Seth Waxman, the former U.S. solicitor general during the Clinton administration.

Orrick’s comments came a day after another U.S. citizen filed a similar complaint in the same court alleging that Twitter, Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. have let Islamic State “use their social networks as a tool for spreading extremist propaganda, raising funds and attracting new recruits.”

The January case is Fields v. Twitter Inc., 16-00213, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco). The new case is Gonzalez v. Twitter Inc., 4:16-cv-03282, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).