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Twitter threatened with legal action for hosting terrorist Hezbollah accounts

December 31, 2011 - London

An Israeli pressure group has threatened micro blogging site Twitter with legal action to force it to close accounts run by Hezbollah and other organisations classified as terrorists by the US.

Shurat HaDin, the Israel Law Centre, said in a letter to Twitter that it should block access to Hezbollah, the East African Al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab and other outlawed "Foreign Terrorist Organisations".

"Please be advised that providing social media and other associated services to terrorist groups is illegal and will expose Twitter, Inc. and its officers to both criminal prosecution and civil liability to American citizens and others victimized by terrorisms carried out by Hezbollah, al-Shabaab or other FTOs," the letter said.

The lawsuit would target accounts such as @Almanarnews, which is run by a Hezbollah television station in Lebanon, The Telegraph reports.

Shurat HaDin said Twitter was acting illegally by 'violating a 2010 Supreme court ruling that outlawed any assistance or support to organisations on the State Department list.'

"Hezbollah and its terrorist networks have entered the global world of social media to further their murderous agenda", said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, executive director of Shurat HaDin, in a statement released with the letter.

"Twitter's complicit service to known foreign terrorist organizations is not only morally irresponsible, it is also illegal," she said.

"Twitter needs to take responsibility for the platform it is providing to known terrorists and cease and desist immediately. Their failure to do so exposes them to severe liability," she added.

The pressure group, which says it fights terrorism by cutting off funding and seeking compensation for victims through the courts, said that it would sue unless Twitter "immediately provide them written confirmation" that it will shut down Hezbollah and al-Shabaab accounts.

Twitter has declined to comment on the threat.


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