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Father of American Killed in Paris Attacks Sues Twitter, Facebook, Google

Nohemi Gonzalez, 23, a student at California State University-Long Beach, was among 130 people who were killed Nov. 13 in the attacks across Paris.
Image: California State University-Long Beach-Nohemi Gonzalez
Nohemi Gonzalez, a student at California State University-Long Beach, was killed in terrorist attacks in Paris in November.Facebook

The father of the only American killed in the November terrorist attacks on Paris is suing Twitter, Facebook and Google, alleging the companies knowingly allow members of ISIS to use their platforms, according to court documents.

The suit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for Northern California by the father of Nohemi Gonzalez, seeks damages to be determined at a jury trial.

The suit is "not about money," the family's attorney, Keith Altman, told NBC News. "Google shares the profits with ISIS and these extremist groups. By their terms of service, in order to you on YouTube (a Google subsidiary), you have to submit your articles for monetization to Google. Then they start putting ads on our pages and sharing revenue with you."

Gonzalez, 23, of El Monte, California, a student at California State University-Long Beach, was among 130 people who were killed Nov. 13 in coordinated attacks across Paris. ISIS claimed responsibility.

Related: Timeline of Terror: How the Horror Unfolded in Paris

The suit claims Twitter, Facebook and Google — through its YouTube service — provided "material support" to ISIS without which "the explosive growth of ISIS over the last few years into the most-feared terrorist group in the world would not have been possible."

"This material support has been instrumental to the rise of ISIS and has enabled it to carry out numerous terrorist attacks, including the Nov. 13, 2015, attacks in Paris where more than 125 were killed, including Nohemi Gonzalez," the suit claims.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu scheduled an initial conference for September.

It's unclear if the suit will get far since a provision of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 shields online service providers from liability for the actions of their users in almost all cases. But Altman said he is focusing on the infrastructure of the social media outfits — not on the content involved.

Twitter and Facebook both said in statements Wednesday that the suit is "without merit."

In a statement, a Google spokesman said: "Our hearts go out to the victims of terrorism and their families everywhere. While we cannot comment on pending litigation, YouTube has a strong track record of taking swift action against terrorist content. We have clear policies prohibiting terrorist recruitment and content intending to incite violence and quickly remove videos violating these policies when flagged by our users."

All three sites said they were sympathetic to Gonzalez's family and pointed to policies that lead to the removal of threatening material when it's brought to their attention.