Another Social Media “Material Support to Terrorists” Lawsuit Fails–Cain v. Twitter

This is one of the many cases against social media platforms alleging that they provided “material support” to terrorists. As a group, these lawsuits have gone nowhere, and this one doesn’t either.

ATA Direct Liability. As with other cases, the plaintiffs do not show “proximate causation” between the terrorist attacks and the social media platforms:

Most of the allegations are about ISIS’s use of Twitter in general. The relatively few allegations involving Twitter that are specific to the attacks that killed plaintiffs’ family members also provide little more than generic statements that some of alleged perpetrators of the attacks were “active” Twitter users who used the platform to follow “ISIS-affiliated Twitter accounts” and otherwise “communicate with others.” Nothing in the FAC rises to the level of plausibly alleging that plaintiffs were injured “by reason of” Twitter’s conduct.

ATA Indirect Liability. At most, the plaintiffs allege that Twitter was reckless about terrorists using their service to plan attacks, but the indirect liability statute (JASTA) requires knowing conduct. Conspiracy allegations also fail because there’s no agreement between Twitter and terrorists to advance terrorist causes. Twitter’s TOS is an agreement, but not for that purpose.

Because the claim fails on the prima facie elements, the court doesn’t discuss Section 230’s applicability.

I’m still counting down the days until this litigation niche fades away.

Case citation: Cain v. Twitter, Inc., 2018 WL 4657275 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 24, 2018)

Related posts:

“Material Support for Terrorists” Lawsuit Against YouTube Fails Again–Gonzalez v. Google
Fifth Court Rejects ‘Material Support for Terrorism’ Claims Against Social Media Sites–Crosby v. Twitter
Twitter Didn’t Cause ISIS-Inspired Terrorism–Fields v. Twitter
Section 230 Again Preempts Suit Against Facebook for Supporting Terrorists–Force v. Facebook
Fourth Judge Says Social Media Sites Aren’t Liable for Supporting Terrorists–Pennie v. Twitter
Another Court Rejects ‘Material Support To Terrorists’ Claims Against Social Media Sites–Gonzalez v. Google
Facebook Defeats Lawsuit Over Material Support for Terrorists–Cohen v. Facebook
Twitter Defeats ISIS “Material Support” Lawsuit Again–Fields v. Twitter
Section 230 Immunizes Twitter From Liability For ISIS’s Terrorist Activities–Fields v. Twitter