Facebook is being sued for $1bn over allegedly violating US anti-terrorism laws

Israeli and American families of victims of Palestinian attacks have filed a US $1 billion lawsuit (£770m) against Facebook, claiming the social network is providing a platform for militants to spread incitement and violence, their lawyers have said. Shurat Hadin, an Israeli legal advocacy group, filed the suit on behalf of the five families in New York federal court, alleging that Facebook is violating US anti-terrorism laws by providing a service to militant groups that assists them in “recruiting, radicalising, and instructing terrorists, raising funds, creating fear and carrying out attacks”. The lawsuit focuses on the Islamic militant group Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip and which has fought three wars against Israel since the Palestinian group took the coastal territory in 2007.

Facebook can’t sit in its stone tower in Palo Alto while blood is being spilled here on the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It has a social responsibility. It can’t serve as a social network for Hamas.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, an Israeli lawyer

The five families in the lawsuit lost relatives in attacks over the last two years. Four were dual Israeli-American citizens, while one victim was an American tourist. Since mid-September, 34 Israelis and two American tourists have been killed in Palestinian attacks. More than 200 Palestinians have been killed during the same time. The majority of the Palestinians are said by Israel to have been attackers. The rest were killed in clashes with Israeli troops. Among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit is the family of Taylor Force, a 28-year-old US veteran who was visiting Israel in March when he was stabbed to death by a Palestinian.

There is no place for content encouraging violence, direct threats, terrorism or hate speech on Facebook.

A Facebook statement