The family of the Cleveland man who was murdered on Facebook Live has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the social media network.
Steve Stephens, 37, murdered 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. in cold blood on Easter Sunday and posted video of the crime on Facebook, where the video remained posted for over 2 hours.
Days later, Stephens was found dead in Erie, Pennsylvania from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
On January 19, Mr. Godwin’s family filed against Facebook in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court accusing the social media giant of negligence, failure to warn and wrongful death.
The suit claims Facebook failed to notify law enforcement when Stephens began making threats of violence.
Stephens posted a video at 11:09 a.m. on April 16, 2017 stating he was planning to kill people. Facebook didn’t disable his account until 1:22 p.m. By then, it was too late.
The Godwin family is seeking an unspecified amount of damages.
Facebook released the following statement:
We want people to feel safe using Facebook, which is why we have policies in place prohibiting direct threats, attacks, serious threats of harm to public and personal safety and other criminal activity.
We give people tools to report content that violates our policies, and take swift action to remove violating content when it’s reported to us. We sympathize with the victim’s family, who suffered such a tragic and senseless loss.”
– Natalie Naugle, Facebook Associate General Counsel
Should Facebook be held liable for Mr. Godwin’s death?