Facebook has spent plenty of time in the news recently for various reasons; however, one of their most recent lawsuits was recently dismissed. A short while ago, Robert Godwin was murdered by Steve Stephens. The culprit had a Facebook account and the lawsuit alleged that Facebook could have done more to stop Mr. Godwin’s murder. On his account, Steve Stephens was sharing a lot of posts that could have been flagged as problematic. Some of these thoughts even alluded to murder. The lawsuit alleged that, based on these thoughts, Facebook should have taken more steps to stop the murder, such as contacting the authorities. By failing to do so, the lawsuit alleged that Facebook was, to some extent, complicit in Mr. Godwin’s death.
Unfortunately for the Godwin family, a judge in Cuyahoga County has thrown out this lawsuit. Robert Godwin was shot by Steve Stephens and this video was actually taken and uploaded onto the social media giant’s website. Based on the records filed with the court, the judge Timothy McCormick dismissed the lawsuit because plaintiffs failed to state the grounds upon which they could have granted relief.
The lawsuit, filed back in January, alleged that Facebook was negligent because they did not warn the authorities that a murder was about to take place. The lawsuit originally sought compensatory damages, fees, and anything else that the court might deem appropriate given the untimely death of Mr. Godwin at the hands of Stephens. Steve Stephens actually streamed the fatal shooting before he was found dead himself. His body was located in a motor vehicle in Erie, Pennsylvania. While the lawsuit claimed that, based on these posts, Facebook should have done more to stop it, Stephens had no record of violent activity. Therefore, the social media giant could not have known what was going to take place. After all, Facebook has no power to control the actions of its users while they were unlike. Therefore, the judge decided to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that negligence could not have taken place.
Mark Zuckerburg actually addressed the case and issued a public statement regarding the lawsuit, the murder, and the actions that the company might take to prevent this from occurring in the future.