Twitter, Facebook And Google Prevail In Suit Over Dallas Shooting

Siding with tech companies, a federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit that sought to hold Twitter, Facebook and Google responsible for a mass shooting in Dallas.

The lawsuit stemmed from a shooting in July 2016, when Micah Johnson killed five police officers in Dallas. Rick Zamarripa, the father of one of the officers who was killed, and Demetrick Pennie, a police officer who responded to the shooting and subsequently suffered emotional distress, sued Twitter, Facebook and Google.

Zamarripa and Pennie alleged that the terrorist group Hamas spread propaganda on the tech companies' platforms, and that Johnson was "radicalized" partly as a result of that material.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero in the Northern District of California dismissed the lawsuit on Monday, ruling that Zamarripa and Pennie had not shown a connection between the tech companies' alleged support of Hamas and the shooting.

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"The Court agrees with defendants that the complaint must be dismissed for failure to establish that any purported "support" provided to Hamas was a substantial factor leading to the Dallas shooting," Spero wrote.

Spero also ruled that the Communications Decency Act immunized the tech companies from most of the claims. That law broadly says that interactive services providers aren't responsible for crimes by users.

Other judges have issued similar decisions. In May, a federal judge in the Eastern District of New York dismissed a lawsuit that sought to hold Facebook responsible for terrorist attacks in Israel. And last year, a judge in California ruled that family members of people killed by ISIS could not proceed with a suit against Twitter.

Despite those rulings, victims continue to bring new lawsuits accusing tech companies of enabling terrorism. As recently as last week, Google, Twitter and Facebook were hit with new lawsuits relating to the December 2015 attack in San Bernardino, California.

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