Facebook, Twitter and Google are being sued by the families of three victims of the horrific June 12 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub for allegedly providing material support to ISIS.
The lawsuit was filed Monday in federal court in the eastern district of Michigan on behalf of the families of Javier Jorge-Reyes, Tevin Crosby and Juan Ramon Guerrero. The group is represented by attorney Keith Altman, who asserts that ISIS propaganda on social media inspired the deadly attack at Pulse.
Altman claims that because ISIS uses popular Internet services such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to celebrate victories and embolden new recruits, these companies should be held responsible for the violence the terrorist group incites.
The suit links gunman Omar Mateen’s pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State during the Pulse massacre to the proliferation of ISIS messaging online.
“Without Defendants Twitter, Facebook, and Google (YouTube), the explosive growth of ISIS over the last few years into the most feared terrorist group in the world would not have been possible,” the lawsuit alleges.
Neither Facebook, Twitter nor Google have responded to the suit, most likely because federal law protects them from being punished for the speech of their users.
The suit doesn’t aim to challenge this law, but asserts that the companies can’t dodge culpability while continuing to reap benefits from ISIS social media content.
“They create unique content by combining ISIS postings with advertisements in a way that is specifically targeted at the viewer,” the lawsuit states. “Defendants share revenue with ISIS for its content and profit from ISIS postings through advertising revenue.”
Earlier this month, dozens gathered at Pulse to commemorate the lives of the 49 victims of the mass shooting with a special candlelight vigil.
h/t: USA Today