Three lawsuits pending in federal court make the sensational claim that Twitter, Google and Facebook committed acts of “international terrorism” and are responsible for compensating individuals injured by ISIS and Hamas. These improbable cases have been brought pursuant to the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), a law permitting American victims of international terrorism to sue and collect three times their total damages, plus attorney fees and costs. They may be just the beginning of a high-stakes litigation campaign aimed at online service providers.
Social media platforms are key methods ISIS uses to “disseminate its official online propaganda” and grow its influence, CIA Director John Brennan said in recent congressional testimony. The FBI and the White House echo these concerns. The plaintiffs bar has also taken note and is attempting to target the tech industry with lawsuits similar to those brought on behalf of terror victims against financial institutions alleged to have transferred terror-tainted funds.
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