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Facebook Sued for $1 Billion for Being a ‘Tool for Engaging in Terrorism’

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July 13, 2016

The lawsuit was filed by Shurat Hadin, an Israeli legal advocacy group, on July 10 on behalf of the victims’ family members. It claims that that Facebook “is in violation of the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act by providing a service to militant groups and assists them in planning their terrorist attacks.

“Facebook has knowingly provided material support and resources to Hamas in the form of Facebook’s online social network platform and communication services.” She added: “Simply put, Hamas uses Facebook as a tool for engaging in terrorism,” Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the lawyer in charge of the case, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying.

Plaintiffs include the family of Richard Lakin, an educator and coexistence advocate who was shot on a Jerusalem bus in October. His son, Micah Lakin Avni, said the goal behind the lawsuit was to get Facebook and other social media companies to “take responsibility” for the content floating around their sites.

Facebook had no immediate comment on the law suit due to the fact that they had not received a copy at the time, however, they have issued a statement reassuring their users that they value people “feeling safe” while using the website.

“There is no place for content encouraging violence, direct threats, terrorism or hate speech on Facebook,” the statement read. “We have a set of Community Standards to help people understand what is allowed on Facebook, and we urge people to use our reporting tools if they find content that they believe violates our standards so we can investigate and take swift action.”

The future of the lawsuit remains unclear. The accusations challenge the “safe harbor” provisions of the Communications DecencyAct https://www.eff.org/issues/cda230, which states: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” This act normally protects online companies for liability for what their users post.