The families of three victims in the 2015 San Bernardino attack are suing Google, Twitter, and Facebook for allowing the Islamic State to spread its extremist message on their platforms.
The shootings were carried out by Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, who supported the group and pledged their allegiance on Facebook just before the attack. The lawsuit claims the companies aided and abetted the terrorist attacks, and are liable for wrongful death, according to the Los Angeles Times. That seems like a stretch to me.
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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 Bernadino massacre.
Newsflash: Many, many people use social media. A lot of us are aware of ISIS, and most of us haven’t committed terrorist attacks. Its a big leap to say that since both the attackers and this group used social media, social media is responsible for the indoctrination and subsequent violent actions of the attackers.
The companies have responded by denying liability, saying the chain of blame leading to them is tenuous and potentially very dangerous. In response to a similar lawsuit filed on behalf of the Orlando nightclub victims, the companies said in a court paper, also reported by the LA Times, this exposes “every online platform to possible liability for terrorist violence anywhere in the world, at any time, simply because terrorists who committed the attack may have been loosely affiliated with some of the platforms’ billions of users.”
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