The family of an American student who was killed by Muslim terrorists during the Paris attacks in November 2015 has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that a trio of huge social media corporations has provided material support for the Islamic State.
The family of student Nohemi Gonzalez filed the suit against Twitter Inc., Facebook Inc. and Google in federal court in the Northern District of California on Tuesday, reports Reuters.
Gonzalez, a California native and a design student at California State University-Long Beach, was studying abroad at Strate College of Design in Sèvres, a Paris suburb. She died in a hail of gunfire at a restaurant. She was 23 years old.
The lawsuit claims that Twitter, Google and Facebook have violated the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act by facilitating communication among terrorists.
“For years, defendants have knowingly permitted the terrorist group ISIS to use their social networks as a tool for spreading extremist propaganda, raising funds and attracting new recruits,” the lawsuit alleges, according to Reuters.
The extensive communication facilitated by the social media corporations amounts to “material support” for terrorists bent on killing, the lawsuit claims.
“This material support has been instrumental to the rise of ISIS and has enabled it to carry out numerous terrorist attacks, including the Nov. 13, 2015, attacks in Paris where more than 125 were killed, including Nohemi Gonzalez,” the suit also says, according to NBC News.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory damages from the companies. However, the attorney representing Gonzalez’s family, Keith Altman, said the lawsuit is “not about money.”
“Google shares the profits with ISIS and these extremist groups,” Altman told NBC. “By their terms of service, in order to you on YouTube (a Google subsidiary), you have to submit your articles for monetization to Google. Then they start putting ads on our pages and sharing revenue with you.”
Officials at Google defended the company’s practices.
“We have clear policies prohibiting terrorist recruitment and content intending to incite violence and quickly remove videos violating these policies when flagged by our users,” the company said in statement submitted to Reuters.
A spokesman for Facebook issued a similar statement to the news agency.
“There is no place for terrorists or content that promotes or supports terrorism on Facebook, and we work aggressively to remove such content as soon as we become aware of it,” the Facebook statement said.
The November 13 attacks in and around Paris involved three suicide bombers and several mass shootings. Targets included cafes, restaurants and a music venue. The coordinated attack was the deadliest event in France since World War II.
Shortly after the deadly terror attacks, ISIS announced — through Twitter — that it was responsible.
One of the Twitter hashtags employed by Twitter users to discuss the terror attacks in Paris was #FranceUnderAttack. While many tweets using this hashtag offered support for France, other Twitter users used the hashtag to openly support the terrorists. (RELATED: Here Are The Tweets From Muslim Psychos Celebrating Cold-Blooded Murder In Paris)
A lawsuit similar to the one filed on Tuesday by Gonzalez’s family members has already been filed. That suit involves the death, in Jordan, of 46-year-old U.S. government contractor Lloyd “Carl” Fields Jr., reports the Long Beach Press Telegram.
“Without Twitter, 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 earlier lawsuit claims, according to The Mercury News, a Silicon Valley newspaper.