Community activists and civic leaders in Chicago met with Facebook officials Thursday to urge more aggressive action to curb violence on Live as the social media giant faces a backlash from users traumatized by grisly images of shootings, suicides and murders on the streaming service.
The meeting came in response to a call from Rev. Jesse Jackson and Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin to shut down Live for 30 days following last month’s murder of Cleveland grandfather Robert Godwin Sr.
During the meeting held at Rainbow PUSH headquarters, Jackson said he and others recommended Facebook form a multidisciplinary advisory commission of social scientists, psychiatrists, civil rights leaders and law enforcement officials to address the growing problem of violent content on Live and to take steps to keep that content away from children.
Facebook officials are scheduled to return to Chicago later this month to visit local schools, Jackson said. The social media giant has plans for an education campaign to get people to report violent videos, he said.
“We know we have a lot of work to do to keep senseless violence off our platform and we appreciated the discussion today about how to work together to achieve that goal,” Facebook said in a statement.
Disturbing acts of violence in Chicago have been captured on Live such as the killing of 28-year-old Antonio Perkins, who was fatally shot while streaming on Facebook from his neighborhood, the torture of a mentally challenged teenager and the sexual assault of a teenage girl.
Rev. Jackson said Facebook has an obligation to work directly with the people and communities being affected by the outbreak of violence on Live.
Steps announced Wednesday by Facebook to hire 3,000 more people to review videos for graphic or inappropriate material and to make videos easier for users to flag as violent were a good start, he said, but don’t go far enough.
“This was a significant meeting that was a response to our urgent appeal for Facebook to work with us to reduce the postings of these acts of terror, rape and murder,” Jackson said.
Facebook has no plans to temporarily take down the service as Jackson and others suggested. During a conference call with financial analysts Wednesday, it said it would continue to promote Live to Facebook users and add more advertising in live video.
Yet, there’s a growing backlash against the company for rolling out the live-streaming product without an adequate plan to prevent acts of violence from being shown to its nearly 2 billion users. Criticism has intensified since Godwin’s murder that Facebook makes it far too easy and enticing for people to expose millions of viewers to tragic images such as the murder of an 11-month-old child by her father in Thailand. There is also concern that the broadcasts are spurring copycats.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told analysts: “No matter how many people we have on the team, we are never going to be able to look at everything.”
Source: USA Today | Jessica Guynn