Despite that social media giants like Facebook, Twitter and Google have long spoken against the use of their platforms for spreading violent extremism, the companies were sued this week for allegedly accelerating the rapid rise of the Daesh extremist group, also known as ISIS/the Islamic State.
Reynaldo Gonzalez, father of American national Nohemi Gonzalez, who was killed in the 2015 Paris attacks, on Tuesday accused the corporations of "providing material support for terrorism." According to the plaintiff, the companies “purposefully, knowingly or with willful blindness” allowed militants to use their networks, while preparing for bloodbath attacks in France that killed over 130 people last November.
The lawsuit suggests that Daesh has used social media for the last few years to distribute propaganda, raise money and recruit members.
For instance, the leader of Daesh’ British division, Omar Hussain, was spotted by media recruiting members through Facebook. Google’s YouTube has been used for posting videos of brutal Daesh executions. In another case, Daesh sympathizers posted to Twitter images of murdered soldiers with the hashtag #AMessagefromISIStoUS.
Tech companies are sued often for alleged associations with terrorism. Responding to increasing challenges, the social media corporations consistently attempt to prevent their platforms from being used to promote terrorism. As a result, Facebook, Twitter and Google have tightened their rules regarding the violent and graphic content extremists ordinary post to social media.
“Anyone can report terrorist accounts or content to us, and our global team responds to these reports quickly around the clock," Facebook spokesperson said. "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.”
Twitter claims to have shut down some 125,000 Daesh-linked accounts up to February, according to a blog, but the company is being sued for the second time in a year.
“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 Twitter spokesperson said to International Business Times.
Many believe that the companies should contribute more to security by opening access for governments to users’ private data. Following the December 2015 San Bernardino shootings, the US House of Representatives passed a bill demanding more scrutiny into terrorism on the internet.
Tech companies claim that such a scenario will lead to more insecurity in social media. This time they have fought back, appealing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, that web-based hosts are not responsible for the content posted by users.
The fact of registration and authorization of users on Sputnik websites via users’ account or accounts on social networks indicates acceptance of these rules.
Users are obliged abide by national and international laws. Users are obliged to speak respectfully to the other participants in the discussion, readers and individuals referenced in the posts.
The websites’ administration has the right to delete comments made in languages other than the language of the majority of the websites’ content.
In all language versions of the sputniknews.com websites any comments posted can be edited.
A user comment will be deleted if it:
does not correspond with the subject of the post;
promotes hatred and discrimination on racial, ethnic, sexual, religious or social basis or violates the rights of minorities;
violates the rights of minors, causing them harm in any form, including moral damage;
contains ideas of extremist nature or calls for other illegal activities;
contains insults, threats to other users, individuals or specific organizations, denigrates dignity or undermines business reputations;
contains insults or messages expressing disrespect to Sputnik;
violates privacy, distributes personal data of third parties without their consent or violates privacy of correspondence;
describes or references scenes of violence, cruelty to animals;
contains information about methods of suicide, incites to commit suicide;
pursues commercial objectives, contains improper advertising, unlawful political advertisement or links to other online resources containing such information;
promotes products or services of third parties without proper authorization;
contains offensive language or profanity and its derivatives, as well as hints of the use of lexical items falling within this definition;
contains spam, advertises spamming, mass mailing services and promotes get-rich-quick schemes;
promotes the use of narcotic / psychotropic substances, provides information on their production and use;
contains links to viruses and malicious software;
is part of an organized action involving large volumes of comments with identical or similar content ("flash mob");
“floods” the discussion thread with a large number of incoherent or irrelevant messages;
violates etiquette, exhibiting any form of aggressive, humiliating or abusive behavior ("trolling");
doesn’t follow standard rules of the English language, for example, is typed fully or mostly in capital letters or isn’t broken down into sentences.
The administration has the right to block a user’s access to the page or delete a user’s account without notice if the user is in violation of these rules or if behavior indicating said violation is detected.