Published: Wed, January 31, 2018
IT | By Lester Massey

Facebook sued by family of man whose killing was posted online

Facebook sued by family of man whose killing was posted online

Godwin was shot and killed last Easter Sunday by Steve Stephens.

A lawsuit has been filed against Facebook by the family of the Robert Godwin Sr., the man whose shooting death was captured on video and uploaded on the social media network. The day before Steve killed Robert, he had posted a video on Facebook where he detailed his plans to kill.

The family of 74-year-old Robert Godwin, whose murder was broadcast on Facebook, has sued the social network for negligence and wrongful death.

The family of the murdered Robert Godwin is filing the lawsuit for the footage that had Facebook condemned for taking hours to remove it.

On 16 April, minutes before the shooting, Stephens, 37, posted an emotional message to his page explaining that he had "lost everything" through gambling and was at his "breaking point" and about to do some "murder shit". FB you have 4 minutes to tell me why I shouldn't be on death row! When a man murdered two Virginia journalists in August 2015, he filmed the crime and uploaded the video to Facebook and Twitter.

That business decision to take control of its users' information and then to profit from it creates a duty of care that was breached when Facebook took no action in response to Stephens' threat of violence, according to the complaint.


A lawyer for Facebook didn't address those specific allegations in a statement to WJW-TV, but she expressed sympathy for Godwin's family and noted that content violating Facebook's policies is removed when users report it.

Law enforcement on the scene where Steve Stephens, the suspect in the Cleveland, Facebook killing, shot and killed himself after a brief pursuit in Erie County, Penn., April 18, 2017.

Suit claims Facebook had duty to warn of...

The complaint, filed by Godwin's daughter Debbie on behalf of the Godwin estate, names other Facebook-owned companies as defendants, including ad serving platform Atlas Solutions and CrowdTangle, a content discovery tool.

"We sympathise with the victim's family, who suffered such a tragic and senseless loss".

The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, costs, expenses and attorney fees, and "any further relief" that the court "may deem appropriate".

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