Judge dismisses suits aiming to hold Twitter, Facebook, Google liable for 2015 terrorist shooting

A federal judge in California dismissed two lawsuits earlier this week that sought to hold Google and social media giants Twitter and Facebook liable for the December 2015 mass shooting that killed 14 people and wounded 22 others in San Bernadino, Calif.

The companies were accused of aiding and abetting international terrorism and providing material support to international terrorists by allowing terrorist groups to use their platforms.


The plaintiffs, which included people either injured in the attack or related to someone who was injured or killed, alleged the shooters were radicalized through social media.

But  Judge Laurel Beeler, a magistrate judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, dismissed the cases, finding no connection between the attack and the defendants.

In a ruling on New Year's Eve, Beeler said “the alleged radicalization through exposure to online content does not establish the necessary direct relationship between the defendants’ conduct and the attacks on the victims.”

She said “there are allegations only that the defendants were generally aware that ISIS used their services. There are no allegations that they intended to further ISIS’s activities" or “at least were ‘generally aware’ that, through their actions, the defendants ‘were thereby playing a "role" in the organization’s violent or life-endangering activities.' ”