The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit against Twitter, Facebook and Google brought by the victims and the families of the victims of the June 2016 Pulse nightclub mass shooting. The shooting in Orlando, Florida, killed 49 people and injured 53.
The plaintiffs’ claim was that the technology companies should be held responsible for the shooting because they facilitated the radicalization of the shooter by not strictly regulating the use of their websites. They argued that the shooter was “self radicalized” through viewing content created by the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations on the websites.
Judge Nalbandian wrote in the opinion that the plaintiffs were unable to create a “direct connection” between the actions of Twitter, Facebook and Google and the shooter. The lack of proximate cause defeated the federal and state claims, finding that the content posted on these websites did not “compel” the shooters actions. While the judge expresses sympathy for the families who “suffered through one of the worst terrorist attacks in American history,” the court will not hold the technology companies liable for the act of terrorism.