On June 12, the world was shocked when Omar Mateen walked into Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and shot 49 people dead.
Three of the Pulse nightclub victims’ families have lodged a lawsuit this week against tech giants including YouTube (owned by Google), Twitter, and Facebook. They are claiming these companies provided the means for propaganda to promote radicalization and ultimately this cost their loved ones’ lives.
The lawsuit said:
“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.”
Mateen’s autopsy revealed he was an avid steroid user and many stories about his character emerged after the incident.
Federal laws protect publishers against hate speech of others, so the lawsuit has only a slim chance of being successful. Also, many tech giants are currently trying to combat the use of their platforms by terrorist groups.
The complicated bit here is the blurred line between freedom of speech and hate speech. Inciting violence of course should be illegal, but where do we draw the line?
How Does Someone Become Radicalized?
The process of radicalization is also complex. Liberal Muslim, reformed extremist, and counter-terrorist Maajid Nawaz claims the process of becoming radical is four-fold and requires all of the following elements:
- a charismatic recruiter
- an ideology
- an identity
- a grievance
This theory could apply to all sorts of radical beliefs, of any type, including Nazism. It shows that becoming radical is multi-faceted and not caused by just one thing. There are narratives that support the strength of the attempts to radicalize. We need to break these narratives.
Many people could watch a recruitment video for ISIS (or any extremist outfit) online and not become a terrorist and then there are those who are vulnerable to it.
The families of the Pulse nightclubs victims have every right to be upset about their loss. However, the matter of whose fault it is legally is yet to be seen.
Watch a report about the lawsuit here:
Featured image via Youtube