| LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES May 4 Family members of three
victims of the December 2015 shooting rampage in San Bernardino,
California, have sued Facebook, Google and Twitter, claiming
that the tech giants permitted Islamic State to flourish on
The plaintiffs assert that by allowing Islamic State
militants to spread propaganda freely on social media, the three
companies provided "material support" to the group and enabled
attacks such as the one in San Bernardino.
"For years defendants have knowingly and recklessly provided
the terrorist group ISIS with accounts to use its social
networks as a tool for spreading extremist propaganda, raising
funds and attracting new recruits," family members of Sierra
Clayborn, Tin Nguyen and Nicholas Thalasinos charge in the
32-page complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Los
Angeles on Wednesday.
"Without defendants 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," the plaintiffs say.
A spokeswoman for Twitter declined to comment on
the lawsuit. Representatives for Facebook and Google
could not immediately be reached by Reuters on
Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, opened fire
on a holiday gathering of Farook's co-workers at a government
building in San Bernardino on Dec. 2, 2015, killing 14 people
and wounding 22 others.
Farook, the 28-year-old, U.S.-born son of Pakistani
immigrants, and Malik, 29, a Pakistani native, died in a
shootout with police four hours after the massacre.
Authorities have said the couple was inspired by Islamist
militants. At the time, the assault ranked as the deadliest
attack by Islamist extremists on U.S. soil since the Sept. 11,
2001, terror attacks.
In June 2016, an American-born gunman pledging allegiance to
the leader of Islamic State shot 49 people to death at the Pulse
nightclub in Orlando, Florida, before he was killed by police.
In December 2016 the families of three men killed at the
nightclub sued Twitter, Google and Facebook in federal court on
allegations similar to those in the most recent lawsuit.
U.S. federal law gives internet companies broad immunity
from liability for content posted by their users. A number of
lawsuits have been filed in recent years seeking to hold social
media companies responsible for terror attacks, but none has
advanced beyond the preliminary phases.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Additional reporting
by David Ingram and Julia Love in San Francisco; Editing by Dan