The U.S. Court of Appeals of the 11th Circuit issued its last month’s decision AssertedThe decision of the lower court that Pulse nightclub victims were not able to hold the families and social media companies liable in aiding or abetting Omar Mateen’s horrible act under the Anti-Terrorism Act, (ATA) is affirmed by the Court of Appeal.
Omar Mateen was radicalized by ISIS via social media sites like YouTube and Facebook. He killed 49 and injured 53 people at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub in 2016. Mateen, who had been posting Facebook messages before the attack claimed ISIS would carry out an operation in America. He took hostages and barricaded himself in the toilet before calling 911 to claim that he was an ISIS soldier. Mateen was shot to death by police on the spot. ISIS claimed responsibility for Mateen’s attack at the nightclub and called Mateen “a soldier in the Caliphate”.
The plaintiffs alleged that Mr. Mateen was assisted and abetted by the companies in violation the Anti-Terrorism Act (18 U.S.C. §§ 2333(a) & (d)(2), by facilitating his access to radical jihadist and ISIS-sponsored content in the months and years leading up to the shooting,” writes the 11th Circuit.
We are saddened at the loss of life and injury caused by Mr. Mateen’s rampage. However, we agreed with the court in that plaintiffs did not make a plausible case that Pulse was an act ‘international terrorism’ according to the ATA. And without such an act of ‘international terrorism,’ the social media companies—no matter what we may think of their alleged conduct—cannot be liable for aiding and abetting under the ATA.”
The 11th Circuit explains that international terrorism must be defined as an act intended to “intimidate or coerce the civilian population, (iii), influence the government’s policy by intimidation and coercion, (iii), or affect the conduct of a country by mass destruction or assassination.” You must be able to “transcend the national boundaries”, meaning that the terroristic acts are not restricted by the country where they were committed.
Though the suit notes that ISIS has been disturbingly successful in its endeavor, recruiting approximately 30,000 foreigners—including an estimated 250 Americans—since 2013, and maintaining robust social media presence to do so, tA resident of Florida carried out the nightclub shooting and killed others; it is not possible to conclude that this act was “transcendant.”[s]”National boundaries” means that they satisfy any of the above requirements.
According to the companies that own social media, the Internet is not what caused the Pulse massacre. The allegation that ISIS posts propaganda, videos, and messages on the social media companies’ platforms—which we accept as true—suggests “nothing more than that ISIS posts information on the Internet, which might be communicated over international borders. These statements do not indicate any evidence of ISIS. [Mr.]Mateen’s actions in carrying out this attack had any transnational components. It is also true that ISIS video advertisements could have been used to generate revenue for these companies.
Some other lawsuits were brought forward by the families of victims, such as Crosby V. Twitter, have also attempted to hold social media companies liable. The U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit stated that plaintiffs would be accepted as the argument. “Defendants will become liable for seeming endless acts of violence today simply because they viewed the relevant content on social media before committing the crime.”