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Social Media Terrorism Lawsuits Head to US Supreme Court

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Social Media Terrorism Lawsuits Head to US Supreme Court

The US Supreme Court announced yesterday that it would consider two cases attempting to financially hold social media corporations liable for terrorist attacks by Islamic State.

The cases are viewed as a crucial test of federal law, which normally exempts internet corporations from accountability for the content users post on their networks.

Family members of victims of terrorist incidents in France and Turkey sued Google, Twitter, and Facebook in the cases the court decided to consider.

They said the businesses assisted terrorists in radicalizing new recruits and disseminating their ideas. The Communications Decency Act’s Section 230 largely led to dismissing one of the cases while allowing the other to go forward.

It is anticipated that the court, which started its new term on Monday, will hear arguments in the cases this winter and issue verdicts before the court breaks for the summer, which typically occurs in late June.

Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old American citizen who is a student in Paris, will be a party to one of the cases the justices will examine.

One hundred thirty persons, including the Cal State Long Beach student, perished in Islamic State group attacks in November 2015. The assailants attacked cafes, the Bataclan theatre, and the area around the French national stadium.

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Gonzalez was killed in an assault at the cafe La Belle Equipe.

Gonzalez’s family filed a lawsuit against Google, which owns YouTube, alleging that the platform had aided the Islamic State organization by enabling it to upload many violent films that served to recruit new members.

Gonzalez’s family said that viewers most likely to be interested in the films were suggested to them by the company’s computer algorithms. But a federal appeals court supported the judge’s decision to reject the case.

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The court also decided to hear the case of Jordanian Nawras Alassaf.

He perished in the 2017 shooting at the Reina nightclub in Istanbul, which resulted in the deaths of 39 people. The shooter was a member of the Islamic State.

The family of Alassaf sued Twitter, Google, and Facebook for supporting terrorism, claiming that the companies’ services aided the expansion of the Islamic State and fell short in their efforts to rein in terrorist activity.

A lower court let the lawsuit continue.

The cases include Twitter et al. v. Mehier Taamneh, 21-1496, and Reynaldo Gonzalez et al. v. Google, 21-1333.

Source: The Associated Press

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