Thursday, January 17, 2019

Shooting victims argue on appeal to revive case against social media platforms

In a recent oral argument before the Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, attorneys for some victims and family members of those killed during the 2016 shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando argued that the court should reverse a lower court decision dismissing a complaint against Twitter and other social media platforms.

In the original lawsuit, the plaintiffs argued that but for the postings of a radical group using defendants’ social media platforms, the shooter would not have engaged in his attack on the Pulse nightclub.  They alleged Twitter, Google and Facebook knew their sites and platforms were being used by terrorist organizations to raise money and recruit new members, but did nothing to curb or end the activity.

The lower court judge, however, ruled in favor of the defendants and granted their motion to dismiss in March 2018.

You can read a summary of the argument here

I confess I have not been following this story and do not know the details of the allegations or the lower court opinion; but from what I can gather from the summary, it seems to me the plaintiffs will have a hard time winning the argument.  It is not easy to hold the media responsible for the criminal conduct of others who read or react to what is published in the media platforms.

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