Six months after a gunman walked into Orlando’s Pulse nightclub and opened fire, families representing three of his victims have sued the world’s biggest social media sites, accusing them of providing ISIS with “material support.”
According to the lawsuit, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (which is owned by Google) all “provided the terrorist group ISIS with accounts they use to spread extremist propaganda, raise funds, and attract new recruits.”
Witnesses say Orlando gunman Omar Mateen declared his allegiance to the Islamic State during the shooting. Ultimately, he was found not be a member of the group, but the attorney who filed the lawsuit says the social networks are still to blame for making the “explosive growth” of ISIS possible.
“Mateen was radicalized by ISIS using the defendants’ tools for that express purpose,” Kevin Altman, who is representing the families of Tevin Crosby, Javier Jorge-Reyes and Juan Ramon Guerrero, told FoxNews.com.
Similar lawsuits have fared poorly in American courts as social networks are generally believed to be protected by the Communications Decency Act (CDA), which states online publishers are not responsible for user-generated content. In August, for instance, a judge dismissed a class action lawsuit against Twitter filed on behalf of ISIS victims killed in Jordan, citing the CDA in his ruling.
In Europe, however, officials have pressured the same companies to crack down on hate speech promoting terror, which violates the European Union’s online code of conduct. Earlier this month, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft announced they would renew efforts to stop the spread of terrorist content after the EU threatened to pass legislation forcing them to do so.
Unsurprisingly, at least one family member represented by the lawsuit saw the situation in much starker terms.
“I wish we could get some regulations put in place,” Juan Guerrero, whose son was killed in the Orlando shooting, told FoxNews.com. “They have to do something to prevent these people from doing things like this.”