Surviving sister of Dave Patrick Underwood, a federal security guard killed in a 2020 shooting, has filed a lawsuit lawsuit against Meta, the parent organization of Facebook. The lawsuit seeks to hold the company responsible for connecting the two men charged with murder and giving them space online to plan the attack.
Underwood was shot in front of a federal building in Oakland, California in May 2020. The two men accused of the case were later linked to the so-called “boogaloo” anti-government movement, which Facebook banned on its platform in June 2020 quoting groups history “actively promoting violence against civilians, law enforcement officials and government officials and institutions.”
“The shooting was not an accidental act of violence,” the lawsuit said States. “It was the culmination of an extremist conspiracy concocted and planned on Facebook by two men who connected Meta through the infrastructure of Facebook groups and its use of algorithms designed to increase user engagement and, consequently, Meta’s profits.” The lawsuit alleges that the two men would never have met had it not been for Facebook’s recommendations, which forced both of them to join groups that “openly advocated violence.”
A spokesman for Meta said in a statement for New York Times that “lawsuits have no legal basis”, and pointed to the work of the company “militarized social movements”.
The lawsuit is not the first time Meta has been involved because of her role in inciting extremism and violence. Facebook’s own researchers have warned that group recommendations push users 2016, according to internal company documents that first reported from The Wall Street Journal. And documents from whistleblower Frances Haugen have about the role of Facebook in inciting violence around the world. She was also Meta by a group of Rohingya refugees across The role of Facebook in intensifying hate speech that incited genocide in the country.
In a statement and ABC, Ted Leopold, who represents Underwood’s sister, mentioned Haugen’s Facebook posts. “We believe and intend to show that Facebook’s behavior has led to an increase in extremism around the world and acts of violence in the real world, including the murder of Officer Underwood,” Leopold said.
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