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Family of student killed in Paris attacks sues Facebook, Twitter, Google

By midian182 · 12 replies
Jun 17, 2016
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  1. The father of a US student who was killed in the Paris terrorist attacks last year is suing Google, Twitter and Facebook, alleging that the companies provided “material support” to ISIS and other extremist groups.

    Nohemi Gonzalez, a design student at California State University, was one of the 130 people who died in the November 13 Paris massacre. On Tuesday, her father filed a lawsuit, which seeks compensatory damages, in federal court in San Francisco claiming the companies aided the growth of terrorist organizations such as Islamic State - a violation of the US anti-terrorism act.

    "For years, defendants have 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 lawsuit alleges.

    The lawsuit says the companies’ “material support” has allowed ISIS to carry out a number of attacks, the including the one in Paris that killed Gonzalez, who was studying abroad at the time.

    The lawyer representing Nohemi Gonzalez's father said the case isn’t an argument over free speech, it's about the companies allowing these groups to use their services as a way of communicating with members and organizing attacks.

    It's also alleged that Google’s AdSense program resulted in the company making payments to ISIS, though no specific transactions were referenced in the complaint.

    The case is similar to the one brought by Tamara Fields against Twitter back in January. Her lawsuit claimed the microblogging site held some responsibility for the death of her US contractor husband who was murdered in a Jordan shooting. ISIS later took credit for the attack, and Fields said Twitter’s alleged failure to remove the group’s propaganda from the site is also a violation of US anti-terrorist law.

    Although it would not comment directly on the Gonzalez lawsuit, Google did give the following statement: “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."

    Facebook said it contacts the authorities when it sees evidence of anything it considers a threat. "There is no place for terrorists or content that promotes or supports terrorism on Facebook, and we work aggressively to remove such content as soon as we become aware of it," the company said in a statement.

    Twitter could not be reached for comment

    The lawsuit pulls no punches in blaming the three firms for the recent growth of ISIS. "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," it said.

    Image credit: Nazar Goncha / Shutterstock

    Permalink to story.

  2. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,005   +1,395

    Well heck why not just sue the internet! Sue all the ISPs for allowing terrorists to use the internet! Sue every company that maintains all the networks!

    Honestly, this guy trying to sue is an *****. I'm sorry for your loss, but by doing this, you look like a greedy dirt bag.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,557   +666

    That last line, saying it wouldn't have been possible to have such explosive growth without those services is bullcrap. Look, I'm sure these services didn't take quick enough action on accounts that probably violated their ToS but that doesn't put them at blame. Unless it can be proven that any of these services intentionally continued and allowed terrorist related content, then they aren't guilty of anything other than perhaps being lazy.

    My heart goes out to everyone who has been hurt by this terrorism crap, and there is no doubt in my mind technology makes it easier for them to communicate and spread their message... but that is an unfortunate side effect of freedom of speech. Now we just need to use other freedoms (at least in the US) such as the PEOPLE'S RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS and a well maintained military (which it isn't) to help defeat terrorism. These aren't the only things that can stop terrorism. There are many more; but alert, responsibly armed citizens and military might (again, don't really have any right now) can make a big impact on terror.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
  4. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 1,372   +1,499

    What do you mean we dont have one right now? the US has the biggest, most well equipped military in the WORLD.
    And if you think violence will solve this issue, then I have a bridge to sell you. We tried that. Several times. And it still hasnt worked.
  5. *****.
    Rediculous lawsuit. Waste of money. Won't achieve anything.
  6. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,283

    I'm sorry for his loss and wish him the best of luck in his lawsuites but I'm afraid that won't do him any good, he's barking up the wrong trees and won't see a cent from them.
  7. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,261   +360

    She forgot to the sue the company that mines the materials to make those explosives. This slippery slope has been brought to by hollywood owned lobbyist and their war on pirates. Is it any different from google taking down links to torrent sites? That may or may not have legal content?
  8. Skjorn

    Skjorn TS Maniac Posts: 296   +163

    If someone died from a company's laziness then I would think they are guilty. Can't think of places where laziness passes an excuse to let people die.
    While the internet is place of freedom from restrictions usually. Companies can do whatever they want with the content you submit through their service.

    Bottom line is terror groups used social media services to communicate and were allowed to operate further upon detection. These services do not have to grant you internet rights. They can do whatever they wish with your account or their service. Twitter is not a right. Neither is internet access.
    dms96960 likes this.
  9. Sancticide

    Sancticide TS Enthusiast Posts: 44   +18

    Are you kidding? How trivial is it to create a Twitter account? These companies are playing whack-a-mole: as accounts are ban-hammered, new ones pop up. Besides, the law says they are not responsible: "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" (47 U.S.C. § 230).

  10. Skjorn

    Skjorn TS Maniac Posts: 296   +163

    @Santicide I'm not saying that these services gave the OK to pro-terror communication. Simply that these services should stop these accounts from communicating on terror. Where they messed up was allowing it to continue. Whether or not they win or lose the lawsuit, most likely win, I always found it weird ISIS was allowed a Twitter account. Maybe the NSA asked to keep it active.
    dms96960 likes this.
  11. Why don't they sue ISIS?
  12. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Evangelist Posts: 973   +319

    Have you missed the news where Twitter has closed over 125,000 ISIS accounts already, or that Facebook has been closing account, or that Facebook and Twitter CEOs have been threatened with death by ISIS because of it? They already do all of this but it is easy to make new accounts so stopping them completely is damned near impossible. These companies have not just been standing by, they do try and stop them as best they can but the nature of social media makes it damned hard to stop it completely.
  13. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,005   +1,395

    Just to make sure we are on the same page. You did realize I was being sarcastic about suing everything?

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