Social Media Providers Aren’t Liable for Domestic Mass-Shooting–Retana v. Twitter

This is one of the dozen-plus lawsuits filed against social media providers for allegedly facilitating terrorist attacks. This particular lawsuit involved a mass-shooting of Dallas police officers in 2016. Despite the underlying tragedies, the lawsuits against social media providers have not made any progress in court. In the latest ruling, the Fifth Circuit easily rejects the case.

The plaintiffs claim that the US-based shooter was radicalized by exposure to Hamas content on social media and engaged with some of that content. The court says there was no international terrorism here because “this shooting was committed by a lone shooter entirely within the United States. He might have been radicalized in part by Hamas, but Hamas did not plan the shooting or even take credit for it….Simply put, Hamas did not commit the Dallas shooting; Johnson did….Hamas provided no assistance to Johnson whatsoever.” So this was domestic terrorism, and also social media providers can’t be liable for allegedly aiding Hamas when Hamas itself played no role.

Just in case you missed it, the court ruled for the defense without any reference to Section 230. Your periodic reminder that amending Section 230 to give greater “justice” to terrorist victims wouldn’t change the legal barriers facing those victims, but it would really mess up Section 230.

Case citation: Retana v. Twitter, Inc., 2021 WL 2451664 (5th Cir. June 16, 2021)

Prior Blog Posts:

* “Material Support for Terrorism” Lawsuit Fails a Third Time–Colon v. Twitter
Twelfth Lawsuit Against Social Media Providers for “Materially Supporting Terrorists” Fails–Retana v. Twitter
Second Circuit Issues Powerful Section 230 Win to Facebook in “Material Support for Terrorists” Case–Force v. Facebook
Eleventh Lawsuit Against Social Media Providers for “Materially Supporting Terrorists” Fails–Palmucci v. Twitter
Another Appellate Court Rejects “Material Support for Terrorist” Claims Against Social Media Platforms–Crosby v. Twitter
Tenth Lawsuit Against Social Media Providers for “Materially Supporting Terrorists” Fails–Sinclair v. Twitter
Ninth Lawsuit Against Social Media Providers for “Materially Supporting Terrorists” Fails–Clayborn v. Twitter
Eighth Lawsuit Against Social Media Providers for “Materially Supporting Terrorists” Fails–Copeland v. Twitter
Seventh Different Lawsuit Against Social Media Providers for “Material Support to Terrorists” Fails–Taamneh v. Twitter
Another Social Media “Material Support to Terrorists” Lawsuit Fails–Cain v. Twitter
“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