Friday, January 7, 2022

This May Be An Interesting Suit

 1/6/21 Daily Caller:

The sister of a man allegedly murdered by members of an anti-government movement is suing Facebook parent company Meta, alleging the social media company is liable for her brother’s death, according to a complaint.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in the Alameda County Superior Court in California, Angela Underwood Jacobs alleges Facebook provided a platform for two men, Steven Carrillo and Robert Alvin Justus, Jr., who allegedly hatched a plot to attack a federal courthouse in Oakland, California. Carrillo allegedly fired at a guard post in front of the courthouse and killed Dave Underwood, Jacobs’ brother.

 Jacobs alleges that Carrillo and Justus “connected through Facebook’s groups infrastructure and its use of algorithms designed and intended to increase user engagement,” arguing that Facebook’s recommendation algorithm brought Carrillo and Justus together.

Carrillo is alleged to be affiliated with the Boogaloo Boys, an anti-government militia, and was reportedly planning a “war on cops,” the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported.

“Facebook aided and abetted an act of domestic terrorism,” Jacobs told the Wall Street Journal. “No one is holding Facebook accountable, and that’s wrong.”...

Jacobs’ lawyers argue that Facebook was aware of how its platform facilitated illegal behavior, and failed to act accordingly.

“We believe and intend to show that Facebook’s conduct has led to a rise in extremism throughout the world and acts of real-world violence, including the murder of Officer Underwood,” Jacobs’ attorney Ted Leopold said in a statement to CNN. “It is time that Facebook is finally held accountable for its actions.” 

Since 1/6 rioters used Facebook to organize the riot, there is a case that this relentless and destructive linking of upset people contributes to dangerous actions.  Facebook is relying on sec. 230 as a defense, but that requires Facebook to operate as a common carrier without editorial control, and clearly that is not he case.

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