Reynaldo Gonzalez, the father of a victim of the gruesome Paris attacks from last November is shaken up by his daughter’s death. He is suing Google, Facebook and Twitter on the grounds that they provided material support to extremists in violation of the law.
Gonzales’s daughter Nomehi(23) was the only American killed during the religious extremists shootings and suicide bombings in Paris. He is now suing the trio of tech giants for supporting the ‘extremist propaganda’ of the terrorist group ISIS(Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). He believes that the trio knowingly permitted the terrorist group to recruit members, raise money and spread their message.
According to the court documents filed by Gonzales,
Without 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.
This material support has been instrumental to the rise of ISIS and has enabled it to carry out numerous terrorist attacks, including the Nov. 13, 2015, attacks in Paris where more than 125 were killed, including Nohemi Gonzalez.
He further adds that these mediums, specially YouTube has been detrimental in helping ISIS spread its preaching to a greater audience. He also also alleges that Google-owned YouTube shared revenue with the terrorist group for running their ads in videos.
Are Twitter, Facebook or Google liable?
Well, lawsuits against social media and content-generating and distributing websites are very common and baseless to some extent.
Also under U.S. law, internet companies are generally exempt from liability for the material users post on their networks.
But still the companies are going to great lengths to remove hate speech, bullying users and violent content from their platform. The team behind each platform is trying to moral police its users and remove offending content when reported or flagged.
The team also scans through millions of posts — in the human capacity — each day trying to curb instances of violence. They are sure to miss some content as it is not easy to scan every nook and cranny. The deployment of AI bots has surely helped lower instances of extremism and other offensive content.
In a statement, all three companies have cited that their policies are against extremist material. Facebook in its statement against the lawsuit filing added that,
[If the company sees an] evidence of a threat of imminent harm or a terror attack, we reach out to law enforcement.
Legal analysts believe that the link between the tech giants and the extremists groups is very weak, so the decision could prevail in the favor of the companies. But, one should accept that an open and connected web comes at a price.