Reynaldo Gonzalez, the father of Cal State Long Beach student Nohemi Gonzalez who was killed in November's terrorist attacks in Paris, is now suing Facebook, Twitter, and Google for the roles they played in allowing ISIS for allowing extremist propaganda and recruitment videos to be spread on the internet. The lawsuit, as CNet reports, filed Tuesday in US District Court in the Northern District of California, contends that both Twitter and Facebook, and Google-owned YouTube, "knowingly permitted the terrorist group ISIS to use their social networks as a tool for spreading extremist propaganda, raising funds and attracting new recruits."
The suit further asserts that the growth of ISIS in the last several years wouldn't have been possible without these internet tools, and that they amount to "material support" to the terrorism organization.
The grieving father may or may not have a case, as the Associated Press reports. While Facebook and Twitter make efforts to quash the accounts of extremists and those spouting hate speech when they are flagged, and while social media companies have generally been exempt from liability for the things posted by their users, this suit goes further to suggest that the platform themselves enabled ISIS more than any single post or tweet and that Google/YouTube provided material support by paying out ad revenue to those who posted popular recruitment videos.
Both Facebook and Twitter issued statements saying the suit is without merit, with Twitter saying, "[We have] teams around the world actively investigating reports of rule violations, identifying violating conduct, and working with law enforcement entities when appropriate."
And Google issued the following statement via CNet:
Our hearts go out to the victims of terrorism and their families everywhere. While we cannot comment on pending litigation, YouTube has a strong track record of taking swift action against terrorist content. We have clear policies prohibiting terrorist recruitment and content intending to incite violence and quickly remove videos violating these policies when flagged by our users. We also terminate accounts run by terrorist organizations or those that repeatedly violate our policies.
Interestingly, Sen. Dianne Feinstein also pointed a finger at Facebook in the wake of the San Bernardino shooting, and Facebook also seems to have played at least a small role in the Orlando attack that killed 49 people Sunday, with a New York Times report today that shooter Omar Mateen was posting to the site amid the attack, even searching for references to the attack while it was taking place.
In separate posts, Mateen reportedly wrote, "Now taste the Islamic state vengeance,” and denounced “the filthy ways of the west," and "You kill innocent women and children by doing us airstrikes. Now taste the Islamic state vengeance.” He also promised there would be more ISIS attacks in the US in the coming days.
Previously: Cal State Long Beach Student Killed In Paris Attacks
Dianne Feinstein Is Kind Of Blaming Facebook For Not Warning Of San Bernardino Attack
Local Couple On Paris Honeymoon Were Dining Two Blocks From Bataclan Concert Hall During Attack