Facebook Sued For Allowing Militia Groups, Deadly Conspiracy Theories, In Rittenhouse Shootings
Facebook is one of several entities, along with Kyle Rittenhouse, the Kenosha Guard, and the Boogaloo Bois, who are named in a lawsuit by four plaintiffs, including the partner of Anthony Huber, one of the protestors shot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and others who were present. Facebook is accused of facilitating the violence by failing to take action on hundreds of complaints about the Kenosha Guard group.
According to TMJ4 Milwaukee, the militia groups and Kevin Mathewson, who names himself Commander of the Kenosha Guard, are named for their ‘call to arms,’ but Facebook is accused of facilitating the spread of the violent and racist rhetoric, through algorithms that ensure the content is seen by like-minded individuals.
These calls to arms, as one might infer, are not met with the responsible consideration of concerned citizens, but by violent, racist rhetoric in which militia members promise to shoot protesters, their desire to literally kill people displayed publicly for all to see.
The lawsuit goes on to say that the tools provided by Facebook enable militias to promote violent conspiracies at a time when the incumbent President of the Uited States has openly supported these militia groups and spoken against racial justice, and expressed an intent to contest the election — suggesting that social media could enable similar conspiracy theories to spread and enable violence in the wake of the election.
There are currently predictions floating that this election will turn to violence, with Trump supporters reacting to the outcome or trying to disrupt the electoral process.
This lawsuit, filed by Hannah Gittings, who lost her partner, Anthony Huber, to the violence in Kenosha last month, Carmen Palmer and Christopher McNeal, two Black individuals who say they were attacked or assaulted by militia members in Kenosha, and and Nathan Peet a journalist and witness to the shooting, accuses Facebook of being complicit in enabling this violence. Palmer says that white militia members pointed guns at her family as they protested peacefully, and that when they attempted to leave, in fear for their lives, their vehicle’s tires had been slashed. They were then pepper-sprayed, she says, as they waited by their vehicle, by a man in a truck full of heavily-armed people.
According to Buzzfeed, Mark Zuckerberg initially claimed that Facebook’s failure to remove the page, after 455 reports, was an ‘operational mistake,’ but the site still did not remove the pages after the shooting, despite saying that it had been removed.