Three families of the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, which took place in Orlando during late 2016, are suing Facebook, Google and Twitter.
The suit claims the three companies provided the three companies provided “material support” to the Islamic State.
Should Crime Victims Be Able to Sue Social Media Sites?
It’s no secret that ISIS uses social media to recruit new members, spread propaganda, and raise money. However, the Communications Decency Act of 1996 may absolve the tech giants of responsibility for what happens on their sites.
The law says, “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.” That essentially means that social media websites aren’t liable for what users post on their sites. (Can you imagine how difficult it would be to constantly patrol each of these sites — Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more — and ensure that all the content is appropriately censored at all times?)
This section of the CDA has protected social media sites on several occasions, but now Keith Altman, the lawyer who’s representing the families in the lawsuit, claims that the companies are inadvertently funding ISIS.
“The defendants create unique content by matching ISIS postings with advertisements based upon information known about the viewer. Furthermore, the defendants finance ISIS’s activities by sharing advertising revenue,” says Altman.
What Do You Think?
Do you think people should be able to sue Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, or is that putting too much “policing” responsibility on social media companies? Either way, this is one interesting story to watch, and the lawsuit’s outcome could reshape the way we all engage on social media.