Families Of 3 Pulse Nightclub Shooting Victims Sue Twitter, Facebook, Google

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Families of three patrons killed in the Orlando nightclub massacre are suing Facebook, Google and Twitter, claiming the gunman who killed their loved ones was radicalized through propaganda found through social media.

The families of Tevin Crosby, Juan Ramon Guerrero Jr. and Javier Jorge-Reyes filed the lawsuit Monday in federal court in Detroit, Michigan.

The complaint says the companies should be doing more to stop the Islamic State group from using their platforms.

“Without Defendants Twitter, Facebook and Google (YouTube), the explosive growth of ISIS over the last few years into the most feared terrorist group in the world would not have been possible,” the 30-page complaint reads, in part.

“According to the Bookings Institution, ISIS ‘has exploited social media, most notoriously Twitter, to send its propaganda and messaging out to the world and to draw in people vulnerable to radicalization,’ Using Defendants’ sites, ‘ISIS has been ale to exert an outsized impact on how the world perceives it, but disseminating images of graphic violence (including the beheading of Western journalists and aid workers)….while using social media to attract new recruits and inspire lone actor attacks.'”

[Read a copy of the complaint].

During the June rampage at the Pulse nightclub, gunman Omar Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group. Forty-nine people were killed in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The complaint invokes statements made by FBI Director James Comey, who has said ISIS has pefectes its use of social to inspire small-scale indivial attacks, “to crowd-source terrorism” and “to sell murder.”

During a visit to Detroit over the summer, Comey warned that ISIS and other groups have been successful in recruiting Ameircans online and that Twitter and Facebook have become a favorite tool of terrorists.

Facebook says in a statement the company “takes swift action” to remove terrorist content when it’s reported.

It’s unclear exactly why the suit was filed in Detroit. Plaintiff Yazmin Reyes currently lives in Michigan and is the sister of victim Javier Jorge-Reyes, a former Michigan resident.

A similar lawsuit against Twitter was dismissed in August.

TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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