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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Four people affected by the violence during the Kenosha, Wisc., protests in August are suing Facebook, charging that the social media company enabled violence to take hold there.

Driving the news: As BuzzFeed News reports, the allegations against Facebook focus on its failure to remove an event titled “Armed Citizens to Protect our Lives and Property,” created by the self-described militia group the Kenosha Guard. The page was filled with violent comments including posts celebrating the deaths at the protests.

  • The plaintiffs in this case are Hannah Gittings, whose partner was killed in the Kenosha protests; Christopher McNeal, a Black resident of Kenosha; Nathan Peet, a Kenosha resident who assisted one of Rittenhouse's alleged victims; and Carmen Palmer, a Milwaukee resident who went to march against racial injustice with her children and church group.
  • Kenosha Guard had ties to Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old who is now charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count each of attempted homicide, recklessly endangering the safety of two people, and possessing a weapon while under the age of 18.
  • The complaint says the four plaintiffs were “terrorized, assaulted, harassed, and placed in so much fear when facing the business end of military grade assault rifles that they determined it was too dangerous to continue to protest.”

What they're saying: “Despite over 400 reports of the Kenosha Guard’s event page and its call to arms, as well as the violent rhetoric throughout, Facebook failed to remove the page from its site until after several deaths, injuries, and extensive harassment occurred," the suit says.

  • CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company’s failure to remove the event page was “an operational mistake.”
  • Facebook also announced that Rittenhouse did not RSVP to the Kenosha Guard’s event and did not follow its page, so there's no evidence that he was tied to the event.
  • According to BuzzFeed, the "Kenosha suit also attempts to pierce the broad protections afforded to platforms like Facebook for user-generated content under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act."

Go deeper

Series / Misinformation age

Platforms give pols a free pass to lie

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Over the past week, Facebook and Twitter have codified a dual-class system for free speech: one set of rules for politicians or "world leaders," another for the rest of us.

Why it matters: Social media platforms are privately owned spaces that have absorbed a huge chunk of our public sphere, and the rules they're now hashing out will shape the information climate around elections for years to come.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.