Meta and Activision face lawsuit by families of Uvalde school shooting victims

Meta and Activision face lawsuit by families of Uvalde school shooting victims

The companies exposed the shooter to the weapon he used, the lawsuit alleged.

Meta and Activision face lawsuit by families of Uvalde school shooting victims
Xinhua News Agency via Getty Images

The families of the shooting victims at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas have sued Call of Duty publisher Activision and Meta. They alleged that the companies “knowingly exposed the shooter to the weapon [he used], conditioned him to see it as the solution to his problems, and trained him to use it.” The plaintiffs also accused the companies of “chewing up alienated teenage boys and spitting out mass shooters.”

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs explained that the Uvalde shooter played Call of Duty, which featured an assault-style rifle made by gunmaker Daniel Defense. They also mentioned that he frequently visited Instagram, which advertised the gunmaker’s products. The lawsuit claimed, as well, that Instagram gives gunmakers “an unsupervised channel to speak directly to minors, in their homes, at school, even in the middle of the night.” It argued that the shooter was “a poor and isolated teenager” from small town Texas who only learned about AR-15s and set his sights on it, because he was exposed to the weapon from playing Call of Duty and visiting Instagram. In addition, it accused Meta of being more lenient towards firearms sellers than other users who break its rules. Meta prohibits the buying the selling of weapons and ammunition, but users can violate the policy 10 times before they’re banned from its platforms.

“The truth is that the gun industry and Daniel Defense didn’t act alone. They couldn’t have reached this kid but for Instagram,” the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Attorney Josh Koskoff, said at a news conference. “They couldn’t expose him to the dopamine loop of virtually killing a person. That’s what Call of Duty does.” Koskoff’s law firm was the same one who reached a $73 million settlement with rifle manufacturer Remington for the families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims.

An Activision spokesperson told The Washington Post and Bloomberg Law that the “Uvalde shooting was horrendous and heartbreaking in every way,” and that the company expresses its deepest sympathies to the families, but “millions of people around the world enjoy video games without turning to horrific acts.”

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