Can Facebook, Twitter, YouTube be sued for terror case
The Supreme Court on Wednesday will consider whether Facebook, Twitter and YouTube can be sued for attacks by the Islamic State group that stormed Turkish nightclubs in 2017, based on allegations that the platforms fostered the growth of terrorist groups. are doing.
The judge’s decisions in this case and related cases heard on Tuesday are significant, especially as they protected the company from liability on the Internet and allowed it to grow into the giant it is today.
On the first day of hearings, the judges suggested they had little intention of issuing a sweeping ruling that would upend the Internet. Wednesday’s lawsuit over a nightclub attack that killed 39 people could offer an off-ramp if judges want to limit the impact of their actions.
At the heart of the case before a judge are two federal laws. The first is Section 230 of the Federal Communications Decency Act. The law prevents technology companies from being sued over material that users post on their sites. The second is justice for the Terrorist Support Act, which allows Americans injured in terrorist attacks abroad to sue federal courts for monetary damages.
In Wednesday’s incident, the family of a man killed in Istanbul’s Reina nightclub attack sued Google, the parent company of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, under terrorism laws. The family of U.S. citizen Nauras Alassaf says the company helped and instigated the attack because it helped grow the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for the attack. The lower court allowed the case to proceed.
The platform claims it cannot be sued because it did not knowingly or materially assisted in the Reina attack. If the judge agrees, there is no need to address the larger issues of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act or whether platforms protect themselves when promoting content.
Broader questions about Section 230 were at the center of the case heard by a judge on Tuesday. In that case, the family of an American college student, one of the 130 people killed in the Paris attacks, was sued under the Terrorism Act.
Nohemi Gonzalez’s family claimed that the Islamic State group used YouTube to spread its message and recruit people to its cause. They said YouTube’s algorithm, which recommends videos to users based on their viewing habits, is important to the Islamic State group’s growth. A lower court ruled that Section 230 barred litigation.