Monday, July 11, 2016
Facebook Hit on Tolerance for Terror
Israeli Group Sues Facebook over Palestinian Violence
Israeli and American families of victims of Palestinian attacks filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Facebook, claiming the social network is providing a platform for militants to spread incitement and violence, their lawyers said.
Shurat Hadin, an Israeli legal advocacy group, filed the suit on behalf of the five families in New York federal court, alleging that Facebook is violating U.S. anti-terrorism laws by providing a service to militant groups that assists them in "recruiting, radicalizing, and instructing terrorists, raising funds, creating fear and carrying out attacks."
The lawsuit focuses on the Islamic militant group Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip and which has fought three wars against Israel since the Palestinian group overran the coastal territory in 2007. Hamas, an armed group sworn to Israel's destruction, has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States.
"Facebook can't sit in its stone tower in Palo Alto while blood is being spilled here on the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It has a social responsibility. It can't serve as a social network for Hamas," said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the Israeli lawyer who is representing the families.
The suit comes amid a 10-month outburst of Israeli-Palestinian violence that has seen scores of Palestinian attacks targeting Israeli civilians and troops.
Israel says the violence is being fueled by a Palestinian campaign of incitement on social media...
Facebook had no immediate comment on the lawsuit, saying it had not yet received a copy.
The case is among a handful to argue that U.S. anti-terrorism laws should take precedence over the provisions of the Communications Decency Act, which normally shield online companies for liability for what their users post.
It is not clear whether the lawsuit will succeed. The court may rule that freedom of expression precedes anti-terror laws. Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, said the case "appears to be a more compelling complaint" than other similar suits filed in recent months.
He said the most interesting argument is that beyond saying Facebook served as a conduit for hate speech, it says the service played a role in specific attacks. "This case will be well worth watching," he said.