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Facebook Sued Over Death of Federal Officer

NBC News

January 6, 2022

A lawsuit filed on behalf of the officer’s sister argues Facebook’s recommendation system played a part in radicalizing the people accused in the killing.

The sister of a federal officer allegedly killed by a member of a domestic extremist movement is suing Facebook, charging that the platform’s recommendation system played a part in the radicalization of the people who are accused of carrying out the shooting.

Federal law enforcement officials allege that Dave Patrick Underwood, a Department of Homeland Security officer, was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting by Steven Carrillo in May 2020 while Underwood was standing watch outside the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building in Oakland, California. One week later, Carrillo was arrested after an alleged shootout with Santa Cruz County police officers that left Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller dead.

The lawsuit, filed by the law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll on behalf of Underwood Jacobs, is asking for $25,000 in damages.

Ted Leopold, a partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, said that the focus of the lawsuit is not about hosting content, but about Facebook’s boosting of the groups and infrastructure that brought Carrillo and Justus together, and to the Boogaloo movement.

“For lack of a better word, I think we have broken the code of what Facebook has done. They are an active participant, using algorithms, behind the curtain, to bring these types of individuals together,” he said. “That brings them well outside of the realm of 230 protection.”

The complete article can be accessed here.