Lawyers for Facebook Inc on Tuesday sought to assure a US judge overseeing lawsuits by victims of militant attacks in the Middle East that it took a â€śzero toleranceâ€ť approach to any communications that may promote terrorist threats or activity.
The comments came after US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn on Thursday accused Facebookâ€™s law firm of insulting the court by sending just a junior attorney to address him in lawsuits implicating violent attacks on Israelis.
The judge on Tuesday apologised to the extent his comments may have sounded like criticism of the first-year associate, but said he was concerned about whether Facebookâ€™s lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis LLP were taking the matter seriously.
â€śWe heard you loud and clear, and we apologise,â€ť Craig Primis, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, told Garaufis.
As a sign of the level of attention the judgeâ€™s critique drew at Facebook, the company flew Paul Grewal, a deputy general counsel, from California to New York to appear before him for what was otherwise a procedural hearing.
Grewal told the judge that Facebook had people working around-the-clock trying to pro-actively monitor and remove posts on its website that glorify or incite violence through terrorism.
â€śFacebook has a very serious interest in keeping terrorism content off,â€ť he said.
The hearing came in a pair of related lawsuits, including one filed last year by 20,000 Israelis seeking an order requiring Facebook to stop allowing militant groups like Hamas from using its platform to incite attacks against Israeli citizens.
The company also faces claims by victims of such attacks who are seeking to hold Facebook accountable under the US Anti-Terrorism Act for providing support to militant groups.
At a hearing last week, Garaufis criticised Facebookâ€™s lawyers decision to send only a first-year associate to appear before him as â€śoutrageous and irresponsible and insultingâ€ť given the issues at stake.
He questioned whether Facebook had a â€śmoral obligationâ€ť to help prevent communications by people who express interest in carrying out violent attacks, and asked whether it should be â€śworking this out as opposed to litigating it.â€ť
At Tuesdayâ€™s hearing, Primis assured the judge that Facebook took a â€śzero toleranceâ€ť approach to such communications.
He said Facebook will be seeking the dismissal of both lawsuits on grounds including that as a communications platform, it had immunity from being sued under federal law. Oral arguments are scheduled for 19 Jan.
The case is Cohen v. Facebook Inc, US District Court, Eastern District of New York, No. 16-cv-4453.
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Source: tech.firstpost.com -Gadgets
Facebook assures US judge that it takes terrorist threats seriously