Lawsuits allege social media platforms helped radicalize Pulse gunman

Google, Facebook, Twitter sued

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - As the wife of Pulse nightclub gunman Omar Mateen faces her federal trial in Orlando, other court cases stemming from the tragedy on June 12, 2016, are making their way through the legal system.

Thirty-six victims of the shooting and their families filed suit against Facebook, Twitter and Google.

The suit claims all three of the internet platforms are used by ISIS to recruit people in the United States.

The suit also claims one of the people recruited online was Mateen.

One of the plaintiffs in the case is Christine Leinonen, whose son Christopher was killed inside Pulse.

"My son's killer was able to hone maximizing the carnage through looking at social media," she said.

Leinonen said the lawsuit is already getting results.

She said all three companies have already started monitoring attempts to radicalize people using social media and search engines.

Leinonen and the other victims' families also sued Mateen's employer, G4S Security.

The lawsuit claims the company knew Mateen was volatile and mentally unstable, but that the company still gave him a gun and did nothing about his mental health.

The case was dismissed one month after it was filed.

Another lawsuit was filed by Orlando police Officer Gerry Realin, who responded to the shooting at Pulse.

He claims he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, and that the OPD did not offer him counseling services.

Leinonen said these lawsuits are not about getting rich. 

She said whenever she backs a lawsuit, it's about something more.

"I'm not out to win any money. I don't want any money," she said. "I want them to change because these terrorist attacks are happening all over the world."

News 6 checked and found that Google, Facebook and Twitter have all filed motions to throw out the lawsuit filed against them.

All three have hearings on that coming up in federal court.

Copyright 2018 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.