The families of some victims who were killed by a couple that pledged their allegiance to the Islamic State prior to their 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino are now accusing multiple tech giants of providing “material support” to ISIS via the use of their online platforms. A lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California accuses the platforms of aiding Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, in the murder of 14 people in December 2015. The families say these platforms allow the Islamic State and other terror groups to use their services to recruit, influence, and in many cases remotely support terrorists.
The lawsuit specifically mentions Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube as sites that have helped ISIS grow in regions it otherwise wouldn’t influence, had it not been for the tech giants allowing the terrorist propaganda and anti-American content to remain on their sites. The LA Times reports:
“Even if Farook and Malik had never been directly in contact with ISIS, ISIS’ use of social media directly influenced their actions on the day of the San Bernardino massacre,” the lawsuit states, using an acronym for Islamic State.
“Without defendants 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 suit says.
On Wednesday, Facebook announced that they would be hiring 3,000 additional employees to the company’s community operations team in an effort to assist in reviewing reports about inappropriate content. The measure could conceivably be taken as a step towards the fight against ISIS-related materials on the social media platform, but for now, it seems much more targeted towards pulling down content users deem inappropriate.
Lawsuits like this one from San Bernardino families have failed in the past due to terms laid out in the Communications Decency Act, which some believe is a get-out-of-jail-free-card that allows online platforms to wash their hands of any liability over what a user may post on their platforms. According to the LA Times, tech giants similarity argued after Orlando’s Pulse nightclub shootings that holding them liable for every word a user posts “would have staggering consequences” and open up every social media platform up to lawsuits when only the barest of affiliations exists.
(Via LA Times)