A string of lawsuits is pushing a new legal theory that social media can be held liable for acts of terrorism, Slate is reporting.
The new lawsuits, including one filed by relatives of victims of the San Bernardino, California shooting, argue social media companies are liable for not only allowing terrorists to use their platforms, but also profiting from that use, the online magazine said.
It noted social media companies like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, bring in revenue from advertising.
"The ads target specific viewers based on the content of the pages they visit," wrote Nina Iacono Brown for Slate. "Thus, the new lawsuits argue that social media has designed specific algorithms to finely target advertising based on users' shared data.
"When it comes to terrorist posts, plaintiffs argue that social media companies don't just publish content provided by ISIS — they actually profit from selling ads to those who might be most sympathetic to terrorist messages.
"What's more, in some cases, this revenue may be shared with terrorists in exchange for placing additional advertisements on a page or video, like under Google's AdSense program. If the connection between a terrorist's tweet and an attack intuitively seems too attenuated, what happens when social media profits on that content?"
And she added: "Regardless of the outcome, each time a suit is filed, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter become more proactive about fighting terrorist abuse of their platforms. In the end, whether the plaintiffs win or lose, the natural consequence of the legal exposure created for these companies will likely lead to a safer social media landscape for all of us."
Meanwhile, Christine Leinonen, whose son, Christopher, was killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, said social media companies must start doing more to police against terrorists.
"I've already seen some of these social media groups voluntarily changing some of the ways that they police their content because they are complicit in some of these terror acts that are happening throughout the world," Leinonen told Yahoo's Katie Couric.
"And they could stop that. They have the ability. We don't."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.