Facebook Prevails In Lawsuit Over Terrorist Attacks In Israel

Siding with Facebook, a federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit that sought to hold the social networking service responsible for terrorist attacks in Israel.

U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis in the Eastern District of New York accepted Facebook's argument that it is immune from liability for users' activity.

The ruling stemmed from two lawsuits -- one brought by terrorist attack victims and their family members, and the other by a group of 20,000 people living in Israel who said they were afraid of future attacks. Both of the complaints alleged that Facebook wrongly allowed its platform to be used by terrorist organizations who sought to organize and recruit new members.

Garaufis ruled that the 20,000 people living in Israel couldn't proceed because their fear of a harm in the future was too speculative. "Courts have broadly rejected claims based on the risk of falling victim to a future terrorist attack, concluding that such harms are impermissibly speculative," he wrote.



He added that the Israeli residents' claim about the prospect of future attacks "relies on multiple conjectural leaps," including that the people who are suing will be "among the victims of an as-yet unknown terrorist attack by independent actors."

The judge also ruled that victims of terrorist attacks (and their family members) can't proceed because the Communications Decency Act immunizes platforms like Facebook from liability for users' crimes.

Other judges have reached similar conclusions in lawsuits by terrorist victims against social media platforms. Last year, for example, a judge in California ruled that family members of people killed by ISIS couldn't proceed with a suit against Twitter. 

Despite that ruling, victims continue to bring cases against tech companies for allegedly enabling terrorism. Earlier this month, family members of three people killed by a terrorist in San Bernardino, California sued Twitter, Facebook and Google for allegedly allowing their platforms to be used for recruitment and fundraising by ISIS members.

Next story loading loading..