Complaint alleges “material support” to ISIS
The families of the Orlando nightclub shooting victims filed a federal complaint against the web giants for allegedly providing “material support” to ISIS and helping terrorist Omar Mateen “radicalize”, according to an exclusive report by Fox News.
Why not sue Mateen’s internet service provider? Or the manufacturer of the web-enabled devises he used to “radicalize” himself? This is akin to blaming the gun for the actions of the shooter.
From Fox News:
In a complaint filed in the Eastern District of Michigan, the families of Tevin Crosby, Javier Jorge-Reyes and Juan Ramon Guerrero argue that the three web platforms “provided the terrorist group ISIS with accounts they use to spread extremist propaganda, raise funds, and attract new recruits.”
“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 lawsuit states.
Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard who pledged allegiance to ISIS, opened fire inside Orlando’s Pulse nightclub back in June; killing 49 people and wounding 53 others before being killed by a SWAT team to end the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
“Life has not been easy for me or my whole family,” Juan Guerrero, the father of one of the victims, told FoxNews.com. “It is something I remember and have to live with every day.”
The complaint hinges on a clause from the Communications Decency Act, passed in 1996:
At the heart of the lawsuit is the interpretation of a provision tucked deep inside the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 called Section 230.
The language of Section 230 states that “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” In layman’s terms, this basically means that sites like Facebook or YouTube are not liable for what their users post on their sites.
“Section 230 is a free pass to online service providers as long as they act only as a pass-through,” Mark Bartholomew, a professor at the University Of Buffalo School Of Law, told FoxNews.com. “If you set up a place for people to talk, but don’t communicate on it yourself, then you are basically immune from prosecution.”
Section 230 of the CDA has protected social media sites in the past, but some lawyers and academics have begun to argue sites like Facebook may be violating the provision with their heavily-guarded algorithms. Despite these algorithms having come under fire before – from how Facebook curated its Trending Topics to accusations that YouTube was censoring people – this lawsuit alleges something much more nefarious behind one of the tech world’s most secretive processes.
Perhaps the point of the complaint is to spur national discussion on the role social media plays in terrorism recruiting and to what degree platforms are responsible for the actions of users. Any reason outside of those seems futile and ill-advised.
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