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School Shooting Families Sue Activision and Meta

A graphic of a video game controller and the Call Of Duty Game

Families of children killed in a mass shooting in Texas are suing Meta and Activision Blizzard, claiming they promote the use of firearms to underage boys.

The suit claims both companies “knowingly exposed the Shooter to the weapon, conditioned him to see it as the solution to his problems, and trained him to use it.”

The lawsuit has been filed in the Los Angeles Supreme Court on behalf of around 45 family members.

It states the gunman played Activision's Call of Duty “obsessively, developed skill as a marksman, and obtained rewards that become available only after a substantial time investment.”

It also mentions that the game features the AR-15 used in the shooting.

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It also alleges “the shooter was being courted through explicit, aggressive marketing” on Instagram.

This showcased “hundreds of images depicting and venerating the thrill of combat.”

“Activision should stop training and habituating kids to kill,” the lawsuit says.

The families are also suing Daniel Defense, the gun company that made the AR-15 used in the shooting.

The lawsuit alleges Daniel Defense promotes its weapons to minors on Instagram through posts “glorifying” combat.

Meta’s rules theoretically ban companies from selling guns on its platforms.

The gunman purchased the AR-15 from Daniel Defense’s website, not through Instagram.

Companies like Instagram and Activision do more than just allow gun companies to reach consumers — they underwrite and mainstream violence to struggling adolescents"

Section 230 generally protects platforms from civil lawsuits arising from user posts, but complications arise when targeted advertising is involved.

Meta did not immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment.

Josh Koskoff, the attorney for the Uvalde families, wrote: "Companies like Instagram and Activision do more than just allow gun companies to reach consumers — they underwrite and mainstream violence to struggling adolescents.

"Instagram should stop enabling the marketing of AR-15s to kids by gun companies; and Activision should stop training and habituating kids to kill. It’s that simple."

“Millions of people around the world enjoy video games without turning to horrific acts”

Video game companies have long resisted claims that video games cause real-world violence.

This is a stance often taken by politicians following mass shootings.

Research has produced evidence suggesting video games do not cause violent acts.

Previous lawsuits against video game companies for the actions of school shooters have also failed.

In a statement to The Verge, Activision’s head of corporate communications Delaney Simmons said: “Millions of people around the world enjoy video games without turning to horrific acts.”

Koskoff previously secured a $73 million settlement for the families of Sandy Hook school shooting victims from gun manufacturer Remington.

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