Terrorism victims families sue Twitter for supporting ISIS

An Israeli legal advocacy group filed a lawsuit against Twitter Inc. in a New York federal court Sunday on behalf of the families of American victims who died in two separate European terrorist incidents perpetrated by ISIS.

The suit was initiated by Anne Cameron Cain, wife of Alex Pinczowski, who died in the Brussels Airport suicide bombing along with his sister Sascha in March 2016. Cain contacted Tel Aviv-based Shurat HaDin Israeli Law Center to help bring legal action against Twitter.

The family of a 23-year-old California State University student who died in the November 2015 Paris attacks, Nohemi Gonzalez, also joined in the lawsuit.

According to court filings, plaintiffs allege the social networking company is responsible for the “development of ISIS’s image, its success in recruiting members from around the world, and its ability to carry out attacks and intimidate its enemies.”

The suit also claims the Islamic terrorist organization used Twitter’s private messaging feature to fundraise and coordinate attacks. Citing the Financial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001, victims’ families are seeking “compensatory damages” but did not specify a monetary amount.

Despite suspending 350,000 ISIS-related accounts in 2015 and 2016, plaintiffs further argued that the social media platform “continued to provide these resources and services to ISIS and its affiliates, refusing to actively identify ISIS Twitter accounts, and only reviewing accounts reported by other Twitter users.”

“This is the first lawsuit which demonstrates and documents how Twitter took a leading role in turning ISIS into the most fearsome terror organization in the world today and how ISIS specifically used Twitter in connection with two of the horrendous terror attacks which occurred recently in Europe,” said Shurat HaDin director and founder Nitzana Darshan-Leitner.

Darshan-Leitner went on to say that unlike other online social networks, “Twitter has adamantly refused to cut off its services for terrorists”.

In December, the families of victims in the June 2016 Orlando night club shooting filed a similar lawsuit in a Michigan federal court against Twitter, Facebook and Google for providing “material support” to ISIS and shooter Omar Mateen, citing the Communications Decency Act of 1996.

To-date, the Shurat HaDin law group has won over $200 million for terror victims and their relatives, and sought injunctions freezing $600 million in terrorist organization assets.

 

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