On the night of June 12, a 29-year old security guard of a nightclub in Orlando, Florida shot deal 49 people and wounded 53 others in an incident that shocked everyone. It was later discovered that the guard had pledged allegiance to the ISIS. Now, the family members of three of the victims have decided to sue Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) on charges that the social network provided “material support” to ISIS.
According to their complaint, Facebook allowed ISIS to use the network and spread terrorist propaganda, raise money, and lure recruits. Google and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) too has been blamed for allowing this.
The lawsuit was filed on Monday at a federal court in Detroit by the family of Juan Ramon Guerrero, Tevin Crosby, and Javier Jorge-Reyes. All three died in the massacre that was the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. The suit alleges, “Without defendants Twitter, Facebook, and Google (YouTube), the explosive growth of ISIS over the last few years would not have been possible”. It goes on to add that material support has been instrumental in the growth of ISIS, and numerous terrorist attacks.
Facebook Denies All Charges
Facebook has, of course, denied these charges. A spokesman said, “Our community standards make clear that there is no place on Facebook for groups that engage in terrorist activity. Swift action is taken to remove such content”. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has also sympathized with the victims and their families.
Twitter declined to comment but said that they are against the spread of any kind of violent extremism. Google has so far come out with no comments on the matter.
Facebook, Google, and Twitter Have Been Blamed Before As Well
This is certainly not the first time these companies have faced such trouble. Last June, the father of a victim in the Paris massacre sued Facebook, Google and Twitter for providing ISIS a platform. This summer, a $1 billion lawsuit was filed against Facebook by families of five victims of the Hamas strikes in Israel, alleging that the social media provided “material support”. Also, the widow of an American who was killed in Jordan in a terrorist attack sued Twitter in January.
The courts have dismissed most of these lawsuits, as US federal laws offer strong protection to technology companies. However, with so many lawsuits being filed on the same grounds, there is increasing demand for tech firms to do more in trying to stop the spread of terrorism. There should be a way to stop posting and sharing such content.