Pulse families' suit against social media dismissed
A federal judge in Detroit has dismissed lawsuit filed by families of three patrons killed in the Orlando nightclub massacre against Facebook, Google and Twitter.
U.S. District Judge David Lawson dismissed the case Friday filed by the families of Tevin Crosby, from Saginaw, Juan Ramon Guerrero Jr. and Javier Jorge-Reyes.
The families filed the lawsuit in December 2016 in federal court in Michigan against the three social media platforms claiming that Pulse nightclub gunman Omar Mateen was radicalized through propaganda found through social media.
They were seeking an undisclosed amount of money under a federal law that allows the estates of victims of terrorist attacks to sue anybody who provided “material support” to the terrorists.
A similar lawsuit against Twitter was dismissed in 2016.
The complaint said terrorist groups like the Islamic State group use social media to spread their propaganda, raise money and recruit potential terrorists like Mateen, who opened fire in the Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016, where 49 patrons were killed.
Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in telephone conversations with a 911 operator and a police negotiator. He was killed in a shootout with SWAT team members after a three-hour standoff.
“Most technology experts agree that defendants could and should be doing more to stop ISIS from using its social network,” the lawsuit said.
In his ruling, Lawson determined the families were barred by the immunity granted to online service providers under the Communications Decency Act.
Lawson dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning the plaintiff cannot bring action on the same claim in the future.
"There are many conclusions that can be drawn from the facts alleged in the amended complaint about the ethics and moral responsibility of those maintaining social media sites, including the defendants," according to the ruling.
"But because the plaintiffs have not pleaded facts that plausibly establish legal claims for which relief can be granted, the Court will grant the motion and dismiss the case."
The Associated Press contributed.