Facebook Defeats Appeal on Liability of Platforming Hamas

NEW YORK (Reuters) -

Facebook on Wednesday defeated an appeal by American victims of Hamas attacks in Israel, who sought to hold the company liable for providing the group a social-media platform to further its goals.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said the Communications Decency Act, a 1996 law regulating internet content, shielded Facebook from liability. It also declined to exercise jurisdiction over the plaintiffs’ foreign law claims.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Facebook and its lawyers did not immediately respond to similar requests.

The plaintiffs also included relatives and the estates of the Hamas terror group’s victims.

Wednesday’s decision upheld a May 2017 ruling by U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn.

It is a fresh setback to efforts to hold companies such as Facebook and Twitter liable for failing to better police users’ online speech.

The U.S. Department of State has designated Hamas as a foreign terrorist organization since 1997.

The case is Force et al v Facebook Inc et al, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 18-397.