Twitter, Google and Facebook are not responsible for the victims of the 2016 shootings at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, as they were not international terrorist acts, the 11th Circuit said Monday.
Archer Omar Matine described himself as an Islamic soldier and declared loyalty to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. ISIS later acknowledged the shooting.
Victims claimed that social media companies supported and supported international terrorism by facilitating Matines’ access to radical jihadist and ISIS-sponsored content on their platforms.
The Anti-Terrorism Act defines international terrorism as acts that occur primarily outside the jurisdiction of the United States, or that cross borders in terms of the means by which they are achieved.
In the opinion of Judge Adalberto Jordan, the shootings were not primarily outside the jurisdiction of the United States, nor were they cross-border.
Matine was self-radified on the Internet while living in Florida and became equated with ISIS, the court said. He committed a shooting in Florida, it said.
According to the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, Matines’ deadly domestic terrorist acts and the means by which they were achieved must not cross national borders.
Plaintiffs also did not show that ISIS had committed, planned or endorsed the pulse massacre, the court said. ISIS acknowledged the credit for the subsequent attack, but said the complaint had nothing to suggest that it knew in advance about Matines’ plans.
Judges Andrew L. Blasser and Julie E. Carnes joined the opinion.
Keith L. Altman of Farmington Hills, Michigan represented the plaintiff. Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP, Bailey & Glasser LLP, Shutts & Bowen LLP represented Twitter. Zuckerman Spaeder LLP and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati represented Google. Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP and Akerman LLP represented Facebook.
The case is Colon v. Twitter, 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 20-11283, September 27, 2009.
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