A lawsuit has been filed against Facebook’s parent company Meta Platforms over the 2020 killing of a federal security guard, aimed at challenging federal law that protects websites and social media platforms from liability for what users post.
A lawsuit filed Wednesday by the guard’s sister, Angela Underwood Jacobs, argued that Facebook was responsible for harming law enforcement officers and connecting individuals seeking to provoke civil strife. Ms. Jacobs’ brother, Dave Patrick Underwood, who served in the federal building and courthouse in Auckland, Calif., Was shot dead in May 2020 by an Air Force sergeant with anti-government ties, according to the FBI.
The complaint, filed in Almeida County Superior, stated that the shooting was “the culmination of an extremist conspiracy hatched and planned by two men on Facebook who meta Facebook using the group’s infrastructure and its algorithm to increase user engagement.” Court in Alameda, Calif.
The lawsuit is a recent challenge to Section 230 of the Communications Density Act, a 25-year-old law that protects Internet companies and websites from liability for what their users post. Unlike publishers, Internet companies or website operators are protected by that law.
In her attire, Ms. Jacobs argued that Facebook has become a breeding ground for extremist content and host groups that “openly advocate for violence, discuss tactical tactics, combat medicine and the properties of specialized weapons, and share information about making explosive devices.” The lawsuit also alleges that the company’s recommendation algorithms attract like-minded anti-government extremists to these groups, including the men involved in her brother’s death.
Sergeant Steven Carillo has been charged with murder and attempted murder, and the man he went to Auckland with, Robert Justice, has been charged with aiding and abetting murder and attempted murder. Both have pleaded not guilty.
“We have banned more than 1,000 military social movements from our platform and have worked with experts to address the broader issue of Internet radicalization,” Andy Stone, a Meta, said in a statement. “These claims are without legal basis.”
The presence of militarized social movements continues on the Metana platform. One such organization on Thursday Running ads On Instagram, to recruit members for Meta’s popular photo-sharing platform, “a grass-root movement that follows to prepare individual military personnel.” The group’s account was later deleted, the company said.