Family members of nine victims and four survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting sued Twitter, Facebook and Google…

Lawsuit by Shooting Victims' Families Against Social Media Companies Dismissed

(Bianca Padro Ocasio, Orlando Sentinel) ORLANDO, Fla. —A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit that families of Pulse victims filed against several social media companies alleging that they didn’t do enough to stop Islamic State propaganda that radicalized gunman Omar Mateen.

The order to dismiss the lawsuit was filed Friday, the same day a jury of 12 acquitted Mateen’s widow Noor Salman, who was charged with aiding and abetting a foreign terrorist organization and obstruction of justice.

Family members of nine victims and four survivors of the nightclub shooting sued Twitter, Facebook and Google on in December 2016, claiming that the online platforms “aided and abetted” and “conspired” with Islamic State commit the June 12, 2016 attack.

The lawsuit alleged that the companies knew “that ISIS members and its official news outlets use numerous accounts” on the social media platforms to “publish the organization’s messages and to recruit and ‘radicalize’ persons such as Mateen.”

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They argued that because Mateen was able to access videos of beheadings and other “jihadist material” through their platforms, they contributed to his “self-radicalization.”

But the Michigan court ruled that the Orlando shooting was not directly committed by ISIS, nor did the companies do anything to support Mateen.

U.S. District Judge David M. Lawson wrote in his dismissal that there is no definitive evidence suggesting that the material Mateen saw online directly led to the attack, “other than that the principles espoused in them motivated Mateen to carry out the dreadful act.”

“The only conduct involved with the attacks that is described with any particularity is Mateen’s,” Lawson wrote, which suggests that he planned and conducted the shooting “in isolation, when he ‘self-radicalized’ by perusing internet postings, and then acted on his self-informed radical sentiments.”

During the Salman trial in Orlando, prosecutors released Mateen’s web activity in the weeks leading up to the attack, including Google and Twitter searches related to ISIS, terrorism, and FBI surveillance.

Republished with permission from The Orlando Sentinel via iCopyright license