Members of ISIS have been using social networks like Twitter to recruit new members and spread their propaganda, and many people feel that Twitter should be held accountable for allowing this to happen, so much so that the families of two victims of a terrorist attack in Jordan have sued the company. However, a California judge by the name of William Orrick ruled on Wednesday that Twitter is protected by the Communications Decency Act, and that it’s not liable for any content that’s posted on its service by third parties. Similar lawsuits have been filed against Facebook and Google in the past.
Twitter is not liable for providing material support to the Islamic State group, also referred to as the ISIS, by allowing its members to sign up and use accounts on its site, a federal judge in California ruled Wednesday. The lawsuit against Twitter filed by the familes of two victims of a terror attack in Jordan is similar to another filed by the father of a victim of the Paris attack in November against Twitter, Google and Facebook for allegedly providing material support to terrorists by providing them a forum for propaganda, fund raising and recruitment. These lawsuits accuse the Internet companies of violating provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act and and aim to deny the internet companies refuge under provisions of the Communications Decency Act, which protect publishers from liability for content posted to their site by third parties. Citing the Act, Judge William H. Orrick of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California wrote in his order that “as horrific as these deaths were, under the CDA Twitter cannot be treated as a publisher or speaker of ISIS’s hateful rhetoric and is not liable under the facts alleged.” Section 230(c)(1) of the Communications Decency Act states that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”