By: Savannah Smith | 01-31-2018 | News
Photo credit: Frui |

Facebook Sued for Failing to Stop Live Posting of Cleveland Man’s Murder

The family of a slain Cleveland man is suing Facebook for posting the murder of its kin.

The killing of 74-year-old Robert Godwin, Sr. was made viewable on Facebook last April. Godwin’s family believes Facebook could have done more to prevent the said posting but failed to do so. The lawsuit was filed this month.

The family is accusing the social network that it is responsible for the wrongful death of Godwin due to its negligence. The lawsuit filed on January 19 in Cuyahoga County Clerk of Court states that Facebook acted with “intentional, willful, malicious, in bad faith an in reckless disregard for the rights of Mr. Godwin.”

Steve Stephens, the man who killed Godwin, first announced his plan to “kill someone” on Facebook before the murder. He then recorded the shooting and uploaded it on Facebook. The hugely-popular social media site failed to immediately flag the said violent video. Stephens even logged onto Facebook Live, its live streaming tool, and even described the attack.

Stephens eventually killed himself after a police chase.

Still, the horrific video of the murder stayed up for more than two hours before it was finally removed by Facebook.

Facebook has been under fire for its ineffectiveness in its flagging response to inappropriate and illegal content. The site relies on algorithms and human moderators. Critics have also hit Facebook for relying too heavily on its users to flag posts. Facebook reasoned out that two hours had lapsed before users reported the video. It took Facebook another 23 minutes to disable Stephens’ account after the two hours his murder post has been up.

Godwin’s daughter, Debbie, filed the lawsuit. The lawsuit also names other Facebook-owned companies as defendants including ad serving platform Atlas Solutions and Crowd Tangle, a content discovery tool.

The lawsuit asserts that Facebook has the ability to “cull, mine, analyze, and synthesize information collected by individuals in real-time.” It further states that Facebook possessed such knowledge, and the ability to alert law enforcement, with adequate enough time to act and prevent Godwin’s death.


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