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Orlando Nightclub Shooting Victims’ Families Sue Facebook, Twitter and Google for Providing ‘Material Support’ to ISIS

The families of the victims of the tragic Orlando nightclub shooting filed a lawsuit against Google, Facebook and Twitter for allegedly providing “material support” to the Islamic State, which they claim helped radicalize shooter Omar Mateen.

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The complaint was filed by the families of Tevin Crosby, Javier Jorge-Reyes and Juan Ramon Guerrero, who were all killed in the massacre, in Detroit federal court on Monday, December 19, according to Reuters. The families claim that the three social-networking sites “provided the terrorist group ISIS with accounts they use to spread extremist propaganda, raise funds and attract new recruits.”

Law enforcement officials continue the investigation at the Pulse gay nightclub where Omar Mateen killed 49 people on June 15, 2016 in Orlando, Florida.
Law-enforcement officials continue the investigation at the gay nightclub Pulse, where Omar Mateen killed 49 people on June 15, 2016, in Orlando.

Per Reuters, the suit alleges the “material support has been instrumental to the rise of ISIS and has enabled it to carry out, or cause to be carried out, numerous terrorist attacks.” 

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The families are seeking damages and for the court to rule that the websites violated the Anti-Terrorism Act. However, the lawsuit may face challenges due the Communications Decency Act, which says websites are not liable for what users post on their sites.

As reported, Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard, opened fire inside gay nightclub Pulse on June 12, killing 49 people and injuring 53 others before he was killed by a SWAT team. It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Mateen had pledged allegiance to ISIS, and the group claimed responsibility for the attack. 

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Facebook said that its community standards ban people from engaging in terrorist activity on the site and, when reported, they remove any inappropriate content, according to a statement to Reuters. “We are committed to providing a service where people feel safe when using Facebook,” the statement read. “We sympathize with the victims and their families.”

A rep for Twitter declined to comment to the news site, and Google has not yet responded to request for comment by Reuters. 

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