In a new twist on the blame game, the families of some of the Pulse nightclub shooting victims are suing Google, Facebook, and Twitter. They claim that the companies facilitate ISIS’ growth and were responsible for the radicalization of Omar Mateen, the man who murdered 49 people and injured 53.
From the complaint, filed in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan:
“For years, Defendants have knowingly and recklessly provided the terrorist group ISIS with accounts to use its social networks as a tool for spreading extremist propaganda, raising funds, and attracting new recruits. This material support has been instrumental to the rise of ISIS and has enabled it to carry out or cause to be carried out, numerous terrorist attacks, including the June 12, 2016, attack in Orlando….”
They further allege that the companies derive profit from ISIS postings through advertising revenue.
Twitter has been sued by the families of terror victims before. Two cases were filed against the company in US District Court in California, and one was dismissed by a judge who agreed with Twitter’s argument that under the Communications Decency Act of 1996 it was not liable for the speech of its users.
But lawyers in this case have created a new argument:
[The complaint] alleges that tech companies create new content that does not enjoy the protections of Section 230 when they marry advertising with an ISIS supporter’s online posts. “While they didn’t create the ad, and they didn’t create the posting, by putting those things together, they created specific unique content,” said Keith Altman, an attorney at Excolo Law.
These families have suffered immensely because of Islamic terrorism, and they’re understandably looking for an outlet for their grief. But to place the blame on these content providers instead of where it belongs – on the warped ideology pushed by savages – isn’t going to help prevent further terrorist acts.