Facebook, Twitter and Google are on the receiving end of a lawsuit from a man who claims they’re providing “material support” to terrorist groups such as ISIS.
Reynaldo Gonzalez, whose daughter Nohemi was among the 130 people killed in the Paris attacks last November, filed his lawsuit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California. The suit specifically charges that the three tech companies “knowingly permitted the terrorist group ISIS to use their social networks as a tool for spreading extremist propaganda, raising funds and attracting new recruits.”
Social media sites have become a valuable resource for terrorist groups to share their ideas and recruit people to the cause. These companies do have strict rules against posting hateful speech and will remove such messages and accounts when they’re discovered. But the task is an immense one: a challenging search through the activity of hundreds of millions of users, combined with the fact that is easy to set up new accounts when old ones are shut down.
Gonzalez’s suit alleges that without Twitter, Facebook and Google via its YouTube video-streaming site, the growth of ISIS over the past few years would not have been possible. ISIS recruiters communicate with members using the direct messaging features provided by the defendants, the suit said. The sites also are used to share promotional videos about joining ISIS, to ask for donations and to post images and videos of terrorist activities, the suit added.