p A federal judge on Thursday dismissed two lawsuits seeking to hold Facebook liable for supporting terrorist groups by letting them use its social media platform to further their goals, including violence against Jews.

US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn dismissed a US$3 billion damages lawsuit by relatives of American victims of Hamas attacks, saying the federal Communications Decency Act regulating internet content immunises Facebook from liability.

That law “prevents courts from entertaining civil actions that seek to impose liability on defendants like Facebook for allowing third parties to post offensive or harmful content or failing to remove such content once posted,” Garaufis wrote.

Garaufis also dismissed a lawsuit by roughly 20,000 Israeli citizens who feared harm from future violence.

He said they had no legal right to seek changes to Facebook’s platform because they could not show any “actual or imminent” injury.

The decision is a setback to efforts to hold operators of online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter liable for failing to better police speech by their users.

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