Families of Americans killed by ISIS are suing Twitter for allegedly providing 'tremendous utility and value' to the terrorist organization

Family members of three Americans killed by ISIS attacks in Belgium and France have sued Twitter for allegedly failing to keep members of the terrorist organization off its platform.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the southern district of New York on January 8, alleges that Twitter has played "a uniquely essential role in 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."

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Brussels Attacks: Explosions at airport, Maelbeek metro station
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Brussels Attacks: Explosions at airport, Maelbeek metro station
People are evacuated from Brussels Airport, in Zaventem, on March 22, 2016. after at least 13 people have been killed by two explosions in the departure hall of Brussels Airport. / AFP / Belga / VIRGINIE LEFOUR / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read VIRGINIE LEFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)
#BREAKING: Two loud explosions at #Zaventem airport in #Brussels https://t.co/JFw9RGLjnh
This video footage captures the aftermath of the explosions at Zaventem airport, #Brussels https://t.co/wcsNygh91Y
Brussels aftermath video shows survivors huddled together, telling one another: "It's okay". https://t.co/3Y7lEXrrjP https://t.co/KdqFXR9Wft
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 22: Passengers are evacuated from Zaventem Bruxelles International Airport after a terrorist attack on March 22, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. At least 13 people are though to have been killed after Brussels airport was hit by two explosions whilst a Metro station was also targeted. The attacks come just days after a key suspect in the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, was captured in Brussels. (Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images)
A private security guard helps a wounded women outside the Maalbeek metro station in Brussels on March 21, 2016 after a blast at this station located near the EU institutions. Belgian firefighters said at least 26 people had died after 'enormous' blasts rocked Brussels airport and a city metro station today, as Belgium raised its terror threat to the maximum level. / AFP / Michael VILLA (Photo credit should read MICHAEL VILLA/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on March 22, 2016 shows a Belgian police vehicle driving past passengers who are evacuating the Brussels Airport of Zaventem. At least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport on March 22, 2016, Belgian media quoted the federal prosecutor as saying. Officials were not immediately available to confirm the figure when contacted by AFP. The federal police earlier confirmed one death. / AFP / Belga / Jonas Roosens / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read JONAS ROOSENS/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on March 22, 2016 shows a Belgian police vehicle driving past passengers who are evacuating the Brussels Airport of Zaventem. At least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport on March 22, 2016, Belgian media quoted the federal prosecutor as saying. Officials were not immediately available to confirm the figure when contacted by AFP. The federal police earlier confirmed one death. / AFP / Belga / Jonas Roosens / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read JONAS ROOSENS/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on March 22, 2016 shows smoke rising from the Maalbeek underground, in Brussels, following a blast at the station close to the capital's European quarter. The Brussels metro service was being shut down on March 22, its operator said. The measure came after a rush-hour explosion at Maalbeek station with TV images showing black smoke pouring from the station entrance. / AFP / Belga / Seppe KNAPEN / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read SEPPE KNAPEN/AFP/Getty Images)
A security perimeter has been set, on March 22, 2016 near Maalbeek metro station in Brussels, after a blast at this station near the EU institutions caused deaths and injuries. AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 22: Broken glass and blood is seen beside signage outside an entrance to Maelbeek metro station following todays attack on March 22, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. At least 34 people are thought to have been killed after Brussels airport and a Metro station were targeted by explosions. The attacks come just days after a key suspect in the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, was captured in Brussels. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 22: Broken glass is seen outside an entrance to Maelbeek metro station following todays attack on March 22, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. At least 34 people are thought to have been killed after Brussels airport and a Metro station were targeted by explosions. The attacks come just days after a key suspect in the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, was captured in Brussels. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
Policemen stand guard at the entrance of a security perimeter set near Maalbeek metro station, on March 22, 2016 in Brussels, after a blast at this station near the EU institutions caused deaths and injuries. AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescue teams evacuate wounded people outside the Maalbeek metro station in Brussels on March 22, 2016 after a blast at this station located near the EU institutions. Belgian firefighters said at least 26 people had died after 'enormous' blasts rocked Brussels airport and a city metro station today, as Belgium raised its terror threat to the maximum level. / AFP / - (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
Passengers evacuated after blast at #Maalbeek metro station in #Brussels via @EurActiv https://t.co/O3W8C2rpPm https://t.co/XmIoeKfE9F
People are evacuated from Brussels airport in Zaventem on March 22, 2016 following twin blasts. A string of explosions rocked Brussels airport and a city metro station, killing at least 21 people in apparently coordinated attacks, officials said. == BELGIUM OUT == / AFP / Belga / DIRK WAEM / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read DIRK WAEM/AFP/Getty Images)
A man with blood stains on his sweater leaves Brussels airport in Zaventem on March 22, 2016 following twin blasts. A string of explosions rocked Brussels airport and a city metro station, killing at least 21 people in apparently coordinated attacks, officials said. == BELGIUM OUT == / AFP / Belga / DIRK WAEM / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read DIRK WAEM/AFP/Getty Images)
Amateur footage shows scene at #Brussels airport after explosions (video: Bart van Meele) https://t.co/v29k9dvMiM
Passengers are evacuated from Brussels airport, on March 22, 2016 in Zaventem, after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYS / AFP / JOHN THYS (Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)
A victim receives first aid by rescuers, on March 22, 2016 near Maalbeek metro station in Brussels, after a blast at this station near the EU institutions caused deaths and injuries. AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
A victim receives first aid by rescuers, on March 22, 2016 near Maalbeek metro station in Brussels, after a blast at this station near the EU institutions caused deaths and injuries. AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 22 : Police officers stand guard around the Zaventem Airport after two explosions went off in Brussels, Belgium on March 22, 2016. (Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 22 : Police officers stand guard around the Zaventem Airport after two explosions went off in Brussels, Belgium on March 22, 2016. (Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Passengers are gathered, on March 22, 2016 near Brussels airport in Zaventem, following its evacuation after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYS / AFP / JOHN THYS (Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 22 : Police officers stand guard around the Zaventem Airport after two explosions went off in Brussels, Belgium on March 22, 2016. (Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Firefighters arrive at a security perimeter set in the Rue de la Loi near the Maalbeek subway station, in Brussels, on March 22, 2016, after an explosion killed around 10 people, according to spokesman of Brussels' fire brigade A string of explosions rocked Brussels airport and a city metro station on Tuesday, killing at least 13 people, according to media reports, as Belgium raised its terror threat to the maximum level. / AFP / Belga / LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ/AFP/Getty Images)
Passengers who were evacuated from the airport wait in Zaventem, on March 22, 2016, after a string of explosions rocked Brussels airport of Zaventem and a city metro station, killing at least 13 people, according to media reports, as Belgium raised its terror threat to the maximum level. / AFP / Belga / SEPPE KNAPEN / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read SEPPE KNAPEN/AFP/Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 22 : Police officers stand guard around the Zaventem Airport after two explosions went off in Brussels, Belgium on March 22, 2016. (Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
People are evacuated from Brussels Airport, in Zaventem, on March 22, 2016. after at least 13 people have been killed by two explosions in the departure hall of Brussels Airport. / AFP / Belga / VIRGINIE LEFOUR / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read VIRGINIE LEFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)
Passengers gather, on March 22, 2016 near Brussels airport in Zaventem , following its evacuation after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYS / AFP / JOHN THYS (Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Passengers leave with their luggages, on March 22, 2016 near Brussels airport in Zaventem , following its evacuation after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYS / AFP / JOHN THYS (Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 22 : Police officers stand guard around the Zaventem Airport after two explosions went off in Brussels, Belgium on March 22, 2016. (Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A photo taken on March 22, 2016 shows Brussels Airport, in Zaventem, after two explosions rocked the main hall of the airport. At least 13 people have been killed after two explosions occured in the departure hall of Brussels Airport. Government sources speak of a terrorist attack. The terrorist threat level has been heightened to four across the country. / AFP / BELGA / DIRK WAEM / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read DIRK WAEM/AFP/Getty Images)
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Lawyers representing the plaintiffs argue in court documents that Twitter violated the Anti-Terrorism Act, and they are asking for "compensatory damages in amounts to be determined at trial."

A Twitter spokesperson didn't respond to a request for comment about the case. A similar lawsuit accusing Twitter of providing support to ISIS was dismissed by a California judge in August 2016. The company is currently facing another similar lawsuit by family members of victims killed in the June 2016 attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Twitter has long been criticized for its inability to keep terrorists off its network. A 2014 article in The Atlantic titled "How ISIS Games Twitter" described how "extremists of all stripes are increasingly using social media to recruit, radicalize and raise funds."

Twitter began cracking down on accounts related to ISIS in the summer of 2015, when it suspended 125,000 accounts in one fell swoop. In August 2016, the company said it had suspended a total of 350,000 accounts related to ISIS since mid-2015.

Despite Twitter's uptick in banning, the January 2017 lawsuit alleges that the company has "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."

"Simply put, ISIS uses Twitter as a tool and a weapon of terrorism," the suit argues.

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