Father of woman killed in Paris terror attacks sues Google, Twitter and Facebook

Reynaldo Gonzalez breaks down while remembering his daughter Nohemi Gonzalez, who was killed in the Paris terror attacks, at her funeral in Downey on Dec. 4, 2015. Gonzalez is suing several social media sites, alleging they allowed the spread of extremist propaganda.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

The father of a 23-year-old woman killed in the Paris terror attacks has filed suit against Google, Twitter and Facebook, alleging the companies provided “material support” to extremists.

Reynaldo Gonzalez, whose daughter Nohemi was one of 130 killed in the attacks, filed the suit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California.

The suit alleges that the social media giants “knowingly permitted” the Islamic State group to spread extremist propaganda, raise money and attract new recruits via their social networks.


“The fact of the situation is that while these companies do something to try to curtail terrorist use of the websites, they don’t do enough,” said Keith Altman, a lawyer who is representing Gonzalez.

In a statement, a Twitter spokesperson said the lawsuit is without merit and noted that there are “teams around the world actively investigating reports of rule violations, identifying violating conduct, and working with law enforcement entities when appropriate.”

“Twitter strongly condemns the ongoing acts of violence for which ISIS claims credit, and our sympathies go out to those impacted by these acts of terror,” the statement read.

Google said it could not comment on pending litigation but noted that it has “clear policies prohibiting terrorist recruitment and content intending to incite violence and quickly remove videos violating these policies when flagged by our users.”

In a statement, Facebook said the company works aggressively to remove content that promotes or supports terrorism.

“This lawsuit is without merit and we will defend ourselves,” the statement said.


The lawsuit cites a Brookings Institution report, that looks at the use of Twitter by the Islamic State. According to the report, cited in the lawsuit, the terror group “has exploited social media, most notoriously Twitter, to send its propaganda and messaging out to the world and to draw in people vulnerable to radicalization.”

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act states that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

But the suit notes that the claims are “based not upon the content of ISIS’ social media postings, but upon Defendants provision of the infrastructure which provides material support to ISIS.”

“They’re going to try and hide behind the … act,” Altman said. “This is not about the content of the postings. This is about providing an infrastructure by which ISIS can recruit, conduct operations and spread propaganda.”

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3:45 p.m.: This article was updated with a comment from Facebook.

This article was originally published at 2:15 p.m.