A man who says that his daughter was killed in last year’s deadly terror attacks in Paris has filed a lawsuit against Twitter, Google and Facebook, claiming that the media companies have allowed ISIS to recruit, raise money and grow though their services.
Reynaldo Gonzalez says his daughter Nohemi Gonzalez (pictured) was studying abroad in Paris for a semester, and was killed while dining at the La Belle Epoque bistro in the November 2015 attack for which ISIS has claimed responsibility.
“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,” Gonzales said in his suit, filed Monday in federal court in California. “Without defendants Twitter, Facebook and Google (YouTube), the explosive growth of ISIS over the last few years into the most-feared terrorist group would not have been possible.”
The suit goes on to say that, despite being urged by the U.S. government and the public at large to “stop providing its services to terrorists,” the companies “have failed to take meaningful action.”
In a statement provided to TheWrap, a Twitter spokesperson said that the company believes Gonzalez’s lawsuit is “without merit.”
“Twitter strongly condemns the ongoing acts of violence for which ISIS claims credit, and our sympathies go out to those impacted by these acts of terror. We have partnered with others in industry, NGOs and governments to find better ways to combat the online manifestations of the larger societal problem at the core of violent extremism,” the spokesperson said. “As we stated earlier this year, violent threats and the promotion of terrorism deserve no place on Twitter and, like other social networks, our rules make that clear. We have teams around the world actively investigating reports of rule violations, identifying violating conduct, and working with law enforcement entities when appropriate. We believe this lawsuit is without merit.”
A Google spokesman told TheWrap, “Our hearts go out to the victims of terrorism and their families everywhere. While we cannot comment on pending litigation, YouTube has a strong track record of taking swift action against terrorist content. 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. We also terminate accounts run by terrorist organizations or those that repeatedly violate our policies.”
A Facebook spokesperson, meanwhile, told TheWrap, “we will defend ourselves vigorously” against the lawsuit.
“There is no place for terrorists or content that promotes or supports terrorism on Facebook, and we work aggressively remove such content as soon as we become aware of it. Anyone can report terrorist accounts or content to us, and our global team responds to these reports quickly around the clock,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “If we see evidence of a threat of imminent harm or a terror attack, we reach out to law enforcement. This lawsuit is without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously.”
Gonzalez is seeking unspecified damages.