Facebook says it will be taking stronger measures to review content shared via the social media platform.
The announcement came on the Monday following the Easter Sunday slaughter of 74 year old Robert Godwin, Sr. at the hands of Steve Stephens.
Stephens broadcasted his plans to kill random strangers via a Facebook video, and also shared the video of him slaughtering Godwin in cold blood. As the content began to go viral, Facebook shut Stephen’s page down and made the content unavailable to the public to view. Still, other users had screengrabs and saved the video and were sharing it on their personal pages.
Reports are conflicting as to whether or not the video was streamed using the “Live” feature on Facebook, or if Stephens recorded and then uploaded the video. Either way, the video triggered those across the country who watched the video, and many began to criticize Facebook for it’s lack of censorship when it comes to violent content being shared on the site.
Facebook VP of Global Operations Justin Osofsky highlighted the timeline of Stephens’ Facebook activity, saying:
“On Sunday morning, a man in Cleveland posted a video of himself announcing his intent to commit murder, then two minutes later posted another video of himself shooting and killing an elderly man. A few minutes after that, he went live, confessing to the murder. It was a horrific crime — one that has no place on Facebook, and goes against our policies and everything we stand for.”
“In addition to improving our reporting flows, we are constantly exploring ways that new technologies can help us make sure Facebook is a safe environment. Artificial intelligence, for example, plays an important part in this work, helping us prevent the videos from being reshared in their entirety.” Portions of such videos, however, will still be allowed to be shared if used to “condemn them, or for public awareness.”
Stephens has since been found dead in Pennsylvania to a self inflicted gunshot wound.