A federal judge has ordered the Department of Justice to investigate a social media platform for potentially transmitting the spread the spread that spread the flu to hundreds of thousands of Americans.
The order comes just weeks after a federal judge in Florida ruled the same social media site, Facebook, can’t be held responsible for a Facebook post that warned that “someone may not be safe.”
Judge Alana Moore also said in her ruling that Facebook had not complied with her orders in March and April, and that the company must take steps to prevent other companies from doing the same.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Florida, is the first in the country to hold Facebook liable for the spread.
Moore ruled that the Department could not hold Facebook accountable for violating its rules for the use of the word “safety” in its Facebook page because the word is not a public forum, meaning it can be used to inform users about potential danger.
Moore also said that Facebook failed to properly test for the virus in the social media network’s database.
Moore wrote in her order that Facebook is liable for failing to test for and take steps “to protect its users from a pandemic outbreak of influenza, as well as for failing in its obligations under the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Federal Information Privacy Act to ensure that its users have access to all the relevant information about the pandemic.”
The company has said that it has been testing the flu and is doing so again, and the company is not required to take steps such as test people who are already infected with the virus.