Twitter, Facebook And Google Sued Over Terrorist Attack In Istanbul

Twitter, Google and Facebook have been hit with another lawsuit alleging that they support terrorism.

This latest complaint -- at least the fourth such lawsuit against Twitter and the third against Google and Facebook -- was brought by family members of Nawras Alassaf, a Jordanian citizen who was killed in the January 1 bombing of a nightclub in Istanbul.

"Without ... 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 family members allege in documents filed in the Northern District of California.

The family members allege in a 104-page complaint alleges that the Web platforms enable ISIS to recruit new members and promote terrorism.

"ISIS and other nefarious groups are dependent upon having a social media network from which to collect money and conduct terrorist operations including recruitment and radicalization," the complaint alleges.

The family also argues that Google, Twitter and Facebook "routinely profit from ISIS" through ad revenue. "Defendants’ profits are enhanced by charging advertisers extra for targeting advertisements at viewers based upon knowledge of the viewer and the content being viewed," the lawsuit alleges.

All three companies have faced similar lawsuits before. Twitter previously defeated a complaint brought by the widows of Lloyd “Carl” Fields, Jr. and James Damon Creach -- who were killed in 2015 by a terrorist in Amman, Jordan.

U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick in the Northern District of California ruled in that matter that the Communications Decency Act immunizes Twitter from liability based on users' activity. "In substance, plaintiffs aim to hold Twitter liable as a publisher or speaker of ISIS’s hateful rhetoric," Orrick wrote in a 19-page decision dismissing the case. "Such liability is barred by the CDA."

The family members have appealed the dismissal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Facebook also prevailed in 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 protected from liability for users' activity.

Despite that ruling, victims continue to bring cases against tech companies for allegedly enabling terrorism. In May, 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.

The major tech platforms recently said they would cooperate in an effort to remove terrorist propaganda.

Next story loading loading..