ORLANDO, Fla. — Sixteen survivors of the deadly 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting are suing tech giants Google, Twitter and Facebook, claiming the companies "provided support and resources to … ISIS," according to a court document released Thursday.
The suit, filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, claims the companies "have knowingly and recklessly provided the terrorist group ISIS with accounts to use its social networks as a tool for spreading propaganda, raising funds and attracting new recruits."
"This material support has been instrumental to the rise of ISIS and has enabled it to carry out, or cause to be carried out, numerous terrorist attacks," the lawsuit claims.
Attorneys for the Pulse survivors are using the Anti-Terrorism Act, enacted in 1992 and amended in 2016 by the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, to pursue the suit. The complaint is based on the companies providing “the infrastructure which provides material support to ISIS” and not on the content of ISIS’s social media posts.
"Despite extensive media coverage, complaints, legal warnings, petitions, congressional hearings and other attention for providing its online social media platforms and communications services to ISIS, prior to the Orlando attack, (the) defendants continued to provide these resources and services to ISIS and its affiliates, refusing to actively identify ISIS Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts, and only reviewing accounts reported by other social media users," according to the lawsuit.
"The explosive growth of ISIS over the last few years into the most feared terrorist group in the world would not have been possible" without the companies, the suit claimed.
The plaintiffs seek damages and a declaration from the court that the companies have and are continuing to violate the Anti-Terrorism Act.
The man behind the June 12, 2016, attack at Pulse nightclub, Omar Mateen, was killed by law enforcement officers on the night of the attack. The shooting left 49 people dead and 58 others injured.
Mateen’s wife, Noor Salman, was found not guilty last week on charges of obstruction of justice and providing material support to a terrorist organization.
WFTV.com contributed to this report.
Cox Media Group