WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Nearly a year after a gunman opened fire at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, loved ones of three victims have filed a lawsuit taking aim at social media companies they say fueled the racially-motivated attack.
Attorneys representing the families filed the lawsuit Friday against six websites, including Google, Meta’s Facebook, Snapchat and Reddit.
“The only thing I want is justice,” a victim’s loved one said.
The attorneys argue the platforms played a key role in the shooter’s planning and motivation. Attorney John Elmore said the platforms can “radicalize homegrown terrorists.”
“We’re not going to stop until we win,” he said.
The lawsuit is similar to a case currently before the Supreme Court that attempts to hold social media companies responsible for real-life harm.
Carl Szabo, who represents Net Choice whose members include companies like Google and Meta, said it’s wrong to blame societal problems on Big Tech.
“It has no merit,” Szabo said. “As horrible as these events are, we need to go after and hold responsible the real bad actors, the shooters.”
He said he doubts the Supreme Court will intervene.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., are pushing forward legislation that would weaken the legal provision known as Section 230 that currently protects online platforms from liability.
“Either way Congress needs to act,” Hawley said. “We’re going to end that giveaway, we’re going to end that special sweetheart deal for Big Tech.”
Although the bill focuses on preventing companies from hosting child pornography, Hawley said it’s just a first step.