US court dismisses new tactic to sue Facebook for terrorism

Facebook had dismissed prior cases arguing the US Communications Decency Act (1996) bars all legal claims against it for posts by third parties using its platform.

May 18, 2017 21:42
1 minute read.

Facebook. (photo credit: ILLUSTRATIVE: REUTERS)


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A US federal court in Brooklyn on Thursday dismissed both the Richard Lakin and Taylor Force civil cases against Facebook in a blow to efforts to use a new tactic of suing the social media giant for terrorism to get it to rein in Palestinian terrorists’ use of its platform.

Lakin, killed by two Palestinians armed with a knife and a gun on a Jerusalem bus in October 2015, was one of the original plaintiffs in a 2015 lawsuit filed by a group of 20,000 Israelis against Facebook.

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The lawsuit was filed against Facebook for allegedly providing a platform for terrorists involved in the “stabbing intifada,” and demanding an injunction ordering the firm to act more forcefully against terrorist incitement.

The 20,000 plaintiffs’ case was combined with a $1 billion damages case on behalf of the families of five victims, including US Army veteran Taylor Force, killed in a terrorist attack in March 2016 in Jaffa, against the terrorist group Hamas.

Shurat Hadin – Israel Law Center, representing the plaintiffs, was hopeful it had found the first-ever legal silver bullet for breaking what has been an impenetrable barrier protecting Facebook from terrorism lawsuits.

Facebook had dismissed prior cases arguing the US Communications Decency Act (1996) bars all legal claims against it for posts by third parties using its platform.

Shurat Hadin Director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner responded stating that she was disappointed, but looked forward to a strong appeal. She said, “The district court simply ignored the claim that Facebook is liable for providing material support to designated terrorist groups when it allows Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS and the PLO to utilize its social media pages.”

“There is no difference between providing banking services to terrorists and providing a Facebook or Twitter account,” she added.

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