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San Bernardino Victims' Families Accuse Tech Giants Of Enabling ISIS

A year after the attack, people stand by a makeshift memorial for county workers near the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif., on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

Twitter, Google and Facebook have been sued for knowingly supporting the Islamic State by relatives of some of the victims killed in the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif.

In the lawsuit, the families say the tech giants have allowed the Islamic State to build a vast online presence and spread its extremist beliefs — as well as enlist recruits and promote attacks such as the shooting at the Inland Regional Center on Dec. 2, 2015.

Fourteen people were killed and 22 wounded when Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, opened fire on a holiday party being held at the center.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

"The family members say in their lawsuit that the social media companies' platforms amounted to material support to Islamic State and that the online content posted there fueled the radicalization of Malik and Farook.

" 'Even if Farook and Malik had never been directly in contact with ISIS, ISIS' use of social media directly influenced their actions on the day of the San Bernardino massacre,' the lawsuit states, using an acronym for Islamic State.

" 'Without defendants Twitter, Facebook and Google (YouTube), the explosive growth of ISIS over the last few years into the most feared terrorist group in the world would not have been possible,' the suit says.

"The suit contends the companies are liable for aiding and abetting acts of international terrorism, wrongful death and providing support to a designated foreign terror group, among other claims."

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in San Diego by family members of Sierra Clayborn, Tin Nguyen and Nicholas Thalasinos.

Similar lawsuits against social-networking companies have been dismissed by U.S. courts because of a law which immunizes online providers from liability over user postings.

Court records show that in previous cases, Google, Facebook and Twitter have said, while they are sympathetic to victims, they are not liable for what happened.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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