Twitter, Facebook and Google have jointly been slapped with a law suit from the families of the Orlando nightclub shooting, with accusation that they provided material support to the so-called Islamic State (ISIS).
The law suit blames the three tech giants for having allowed ISIS to use the social networks for luring recruits, raising money and spreading its propaganda.
The suit states that “Without Defendants Twitter, Facebook, and Google (YouTube), the explosive growth of ISIS over the last few years … would not have been possible.”
Facebook was quick to react to the lawsuit saying “Our Community Standards make clear that there is no place on Facebook for groups that engage in terrorist activity or for content that expresses support for such activity, and we take swift action to remove this content when it’s reported to us.” The statement went to state that the social network “sympathize with the victims and their families.”
Twitter’s spokesman, Nu Wexler, did not respond when media outlets sought to get his comments. Similarly, Google’s reps didn’t also give an immediate comment.
This is just one among the most recent suits targeting tech firms for accusations that they enable terrorist activities.
The same three tech giants were sued by the father of a Paris massacre victim for having gave ISIS a platform to progress its agenda. But before that, Facebook had been hit with a $1 billion suit this summer from families of five victims of Hamas attacks in Israel for providing “material support” to the group.
Are the websites to blame?
According to Eric Goldman, websites should not pay for the content published by third parties. He is a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law.
“The only way social media providers assist ISIS or other terrorist organizations is by providing them tools (the same tools available to all users) to publish their content,” Goldman says. “So any lawsuit attempting to hold the social media providers liable for that content” runs counter to the law
As much as these law suits may not get an edge in the courts, the trend signals the tech firms that they need to do more to fight terrorism.
Twitter has been at the forefront by suspending accounts which tend to insight for a terrorist activity. Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and Google are all planning to develop a shared database that they will use in tracking and removing “violent terrorist imagery or terrorist recruitment videos.”