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ISIS Victim's Family Sues Twitter, Facebook For Profiting From Terrorism

The family of a woman killed in the 2015 Paris attacks by ISIS claims in a lawsuit that Twitter, Facebook, and Google profit from targeted advertising linked to terrorist propaganda promoting violence.

As Bloomberg reports, the case is one of several complaints in U.S. courts alleging that the social media giants have played crucial roles in the growth of terrorist organizations in recent years. The biggest hurdle facing such claims is a federal law that insulates publishers from liability for the speech of others.

The family of Nohemi Gonzalez, who was fatally shot in the Paris attacks, said Friday in a revised version of a lawsuit initially filed in June that the companies created “original content” by tying advertisements to ISIS-supported posts and generating revenue from them.


By relying on algorithms that target specific ads to users based on the content they’re viewing, the companies are acting outside the Communications Decency Act ’s protection for internet platforms that are used to share text, photos and videos, said Keith Altman, a lawyer for the Gonzalez family.



“Although defendants have not created the posting, nor have they created the advertisement, defendants have created new unique content by choosing which advertisement to combine with the posting,” according to the revised complaint Altman filed Friday in federal court in Oakland, California.

Furthermore, as Bloomberg adds, the Gonzalez family also alleges that social media outlets have done little to permanently remove ISIS backers from their sites. The complaint cites a Twitter user with the handle “DriftOne00146” that was removed 145 times before being reintroduced for a 146th iteration.

Within days and a dozen posts, the user had 547 followers, according to the complaint.

Is this the real reason why social media is increasingly ‘censoring’ its user-delivered content? To avoid liability for what their platforms are promoting?

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Full Case docket below…


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