US judge dismisses lawsuit that accused Twitter of providing 'material support' to IS

The suit was filed by family members of two Americans killed in an attack in Jordan last year

US judge dismisses lawsuit that accused Twitter of providing 'material support' to IS

This file photo shows a Twitter app on an iPhone screen in New York | Image: Richard Drew / AP/Press Association Images

A US judge has dismissed a lawsuit that accused Twitter of providing 'material support' to Islamic State.

The lawsuit followed an attack at a training centre in Amman, Jordan last November.

Two US government contractors - Lloyd "Carl" Fields Jr and James Damon - were among the five people killed.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the shooter - a Jordanian police officer who had been studying at the centre - was acting as a 'lone wolf'.

Family members of the American victims filed a lawsuit looking to hold Twitter liable "on the theory that Twitter provided material support to ISIS by allowing ISIS to sign up for and use Twitter accounts, and that this material support was a proximate cause of the November 2015 shooting". 

The plaintiffs alleged that the social network was being used as a tool for raising funds and attracting new recruits, The Verge reports.

In his ruling, judge William H Orrick said: "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."

The plaintiffs had also argued that potential recruits and IS recruiters "often communicate via Twitter’s Direct Messaging capabilities", and over the course of a year had used the social network to recruit as many as 30,000 foreign recruits.

However, the judge argued: "Apart from the private nature of Direct Messaging, plaintiffs identify no other way in which their Direct Messaging theory seeks to treat Twitter as anything other than a publisher of information provided by another information content provider."

Twitter has been accused by some commentators of being slow to identify and ban IS-linked accounts.

However, the company itself has previously stated it has banned upwards of 10,000 accounts in a single day.