Families of terror victims will square off with Facebook on Wednesday, arguing the social media giant’s services and webpages let groups like Hamas fan hatred and carry out attacks in Israel.
In the two lawsuits, the plaintiffs — including the family of a U.S. Army veteran and more than 20,000 Israelis — want to hold Facebook liable for murder and violence that began in 2015.
The terror attacks were carried out against people thought to be Jewish, done with knives, axes, screwdrivers, cars and Molotov cocktails, said court papers.
“Many of these murderers were motivated to commit their heinous crimes by incitement to murder and the glorification of violence against innocent civilians they read on Facebook,” according to one lawsuit, which is looking to make Facebook close down accounts and block incitement against Jews and Israelis on the site.
Facebook wants to have the cases tossed.
In court papers, the company says it has “zero tolerance” for terrorism. It also says it forbids and quickly takes down any reported terrorist content. But that still wasn’t enough for the plaintiffs, according to Facebook.
“Indeed, they go so far as to allege that Facebook actively supports terrorists in their deplorable actions” — and that was a charge that had no facts or law behind it, Facebook argues.
The social media company also points to rulings which, it says, protect social networking services from getting on the hook for what people say when using the site.
Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis will hear arguments in the two cases.
One of the lawyers for the plaintiffs, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, said the wave of stabbings in Israel wouldn’t have happened without “the massive wave of incitement over social media.”
Darshan-Leitner said the Facebook “has become a tool of Hamas terrorism and it must be held legally accountable.”