Facebook is facing backlash after footage of the killing of a Cleveland man was uploaded to Facebook by his murderer.
Last Sunday, Steve Stephens filmed as he shot and killed Robert Godwin Sr., aged 74. Stephens subsequently posted footage of the murder to social media site Facebook, where it was viewed millions of times. Stephens later confessed to the murder in a video streamed to Facebook Live.
Facebook has faced criticism over that fact that it took more than two hours for the video to be removed, meaning that it was shared thousands of times by Facebook users and uploaded to other sites. The grandson of the victim, Ryan A. Godwin, urged social media users on Twitter to stop sharing video of the murder:
Since Facebook added the capability to livestream video from mobile devices back in January 2016, there have been several instances of violent video being shared in this manner. One example is the death of Philando Castile, a man in Minnestota who was shot by police last summer, a video of which was broadcast to Facebook Live by his girlfriend. Another example occurred this January, when three men in Sweden were arrested on suspicion of raping a woman and broadcasting it on Facebook Live.
Vice President of Facebook, Justin Osofsky, stated in a public post yesterday that the company knows they "need to do better" to prevent videos such as the shooting of Godwin from circulating on the social media site. Osofsky further stated that Facebook is improving its reporting flows, and exploring methods such as Artificial Intelligence to prevent such videos from being shared.
A warrant for Stephens' arrest has been issued, and a $50,000 reward has been issued for any information that could lead to his arrest. The police have asked people in Indiana, Michigan, New York, northeast Ohio and Pennsylvania to remain alert.
Update: A spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania State Police has stated that Stephens has since committed suicide after being pursued by police in Pennsylvania's Erie County.
Source: The New York Times