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High court lets Twitter off hook in terrorism suit over Istanbul massacre

Posted On: May. 18, 2023 11:35 AM CST


(Reuters) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday refused to clear a path for victims of attacks by militant organizations to hold social media companies liable under a federal anti-terrorism law for failing to prevent the groups from using their platforms, handing a victory to Twitter Inc.

The justices, in a unanimous decision, reversed a lower court’s ruling that had revived a lawsuit against Twitter by the American relatives of Nawras Alassaf, a Jordanian man killed in a 2017 attack during New Year’s celebration in an Istanbul nightclub claimed by the Islamic State militant group.

The case was one of two that the Supreme Court weighed in its current term aimed at holding internet companies accountable for contentious content posted by users — an issue of growing concern for the public and U.S. lawmakers.

The justices on Thursday, in similar case against Google LLC-owned YouTube, part of Alphabet Inc., sidestepped ruling on a bid to narrow a federal law protecting internet companies from lawsuits for content posted by their users — called Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

That case involved a lawsuit by the family of Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old college student from California who was fatally shot in an Islamic State attack in Paris in 2015, of a lower court’s decision to throw out their lawsuit.