On October 13, a 76-year-old American-Israeli peace activist named Richard Lakin was killed in a brutal terrorist attack on a Jerusalem bus. This was obviously a tragic incident, but his family was even more outraged to discover that the men behind the attack had openly plotted it over social media and even reenacted the crime on Facebook afterward.
However, that’s not even the most shocking part of the entire tragic ordeal. Indeed, the circumstances behind Lakin’s death were unbelievably ironic. The very day before he died, Lakin became the leading plaintiff in a lawsuit filed against Facebook in New York claiming that the site should share the blame for deadly attacks on Israelis that have been fueled by posts on the site.
“Many of these murderers were motivated to commit their heinous crimes by incitement to murder and the glorification of violence against innocent civilians they read on Facebook,” the lawsuit said. “[Facebook] is far from a neutral internet platform, as it is Facebook’s algorithms that connect the terrorists to the inciters, and Facebook often refuses to take down pages filled with incitement to murder.”
It will be hard to convince any court in the U.S. that Facebook is complicit in terrorist attacks, but it does add fuel to the fire for politicians and activists who think the site should better monitor criminal behavior.