News, Culture & Society

Facebook could be forced to remove videos of violent crimes

Social media companies like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube could be forced to remove livestream videos of violent crimes under a proposal by a California senator who is trying to get footage of his own assault taken down. 

Under the proposed bill, social media sites would be required to remove photos or videos of crimes that were posted online by a perpetrator if the companies receive a complaint from the victim shown in the content. 

Senate Bill 890, which was proposed by Democratic senator Richard Pan this week, aims to prevent attackers from livestreaming or posting photos of their crimes that can then go viral and further traumatize victims and their families. 

The bill details that a victim would be required to report the crime to law enforcement prior to making a request to the social media sites to have the content removed. 

Social media companies like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube could be forced to remove livestream videos of violent crimes under a proposal by California senator Richard Pan who is trying to get footage of his own assault taken down

The victim would need to provide the social media site with a police report number.  

The social media sites would then face a penalty of $1,000 for each day the content remains online, which would start two hours after receiving the removal request from the victim of crime. 

It comes after a series of incidents in recent years in which violent crimes have been livestreamed on Facebook and other social media sites.  

The close-range shooting death of 74-year-old Robert Godwin in Cleveland back in 2017 was livestreamed on Facebook by his attacker Steve Stephens.  

His attacker had earlier posted a video on Facebook of his intent to kill. 

Stephens later shot himself following a police pursuit.  

Facebook came under fire at the time after it took two hours to disable the suspect’s account after the first video was reported.  

The company’s then-VP of Global Operations, Justin Osofsky, admitted that Facebook needed to do better in responding to these incidents. 

The gang rape of a 15-year-old girl was also livestreamed on Facebook back in 2017.  

Pan, who was attacked by an antivaxxer in Sacramento in August last year, is still fighting to have that video removed from Facebook

Pan, who was attacked by an antivaxxer in Sacramento in August last year, is still fighting to have that video removed from Facebook

Pan, who was attacked by an antivaxxer in Sacramento in August last year, is still fighting to have that video removed from Facebook

Kenneth Austin Bennett, who is known for presenting his anti-vaccine views and various conspiracy theories on social media, posted self-recorded video on his own Facebook page showing him accosting Pan on the street

Kenneth Austin Bennett, who is known for presenting his anti-vaccine views and various conspiracy theories on social media, posted self-recorded video on his own Facebook page showing him accosting Pan on the street

In that incident, more than 40 people watched the livestream and the victim was subjected to online attacks and harassment in the aftermath.  

‘Perpetrators of violence know that the more shocking and violent their crime is, the more likely they are to go viral,’ Pan said after proposing the bill. 

‘We cannot allow the perpetrators of violence to use social media platforms to personally benefit from the violence and criminal activity they committed.’ 

The bill, if introduced, would be the first of its kind in the United States. 

The close-range shooting death of 74-year-old Robert Godwin in Cleveland back in 2017 was livestreamed on Facebook by his attacker Steve Stephens (above). His attacker had earlier posted a video on Facebook of his intent to kill

The close-range shooting death of 74-year-old Robert Godwin in Cleveland back in 2017 was livestreamed on Facebook by his attacker Steve Stephens (above). His attacker had earlier posted a video on Facebook of his intent to kill

Pan’s bill comes as he continues to try and have his own assault video removed from Facebook. 

The senator, who is also a physician known for pushing for tougher vaccine requirements, was attacked by an antivaxxer in Sacramento in August last year.

Kenneth Austin Bennett, who is known for presenting his anti-vaccine views and various conspiracy theories on social media, posted self-recorded video on his own Facebook page showing him accosting Pan on the street.

Bennett was eventually charged with assault but the video remains on his Facebook page. 

‘A social media company must remove violent content of an assault after the subject of the assault asks for it be taken down,’ Pan said. 

‘I am authoring this bill for victims of crime and their families that don’t deserve to see their victimization over and over again on social media, especially for the personal benefit of the perpetrator.’

Some have already raised concerns about Pan’s bill and say it poses issues related to free speech. 

David Greene, civil liberties director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told the LA Times that the bill was problematic.

‘I understand his motivation for doing this given his own personal experience, but the bill is really problematic,’ he said. 

‘It’s barred by federal law because it’s imposing liability on an internet platform for user content, which is something that is preempted by federal law.’ 

He added that the footage could be ‘protected speech’ and may include newsworthy information in the public interest.   

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.