Shurat HaDin assisted in filing a petition for Supreme Court review (writ of certiorari) in the case brought against Facebook on behalf of five families whose loved ones were victims of brutal terrorist attacks, perpetrated by Hamas and Islamic Jihad between 2014-2016. The plaintiffs alleged providing social media services to designated terrorist organizations constitutes material support and resources in violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act. They also argued that Facebook’s “friend and content suggestion” algorithms assist these terror organizations with fundraising, disseminating information, and recruiting new members.
The District Court dismissed the petition, holding Facebook is not responsible for content on its platform and is therefore immune from suit under the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA). The Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in a 21 decision. Chief Judge Robert Katzmann dissented reasoning that immunity under the CDA does not mean Facebook is also immune when it delivers messages to users based on its statistical analyses.
The questions presented by this case are extraordinary. Facebook has hidden behind the CDA for far too long while knowingly providing terrorist organizations with the means and opportunity to conduct their criminal activities online with impunity. Shurat HaDin will continue its fight to hold Facebook accountable for the horrific consequences of its actions.