Father of Murdered Reporter Asks Regulators to Investigate Facebook


In a complaint filed Tuesday, the father of a murdered journalist urged federal regulators to get Facebook to change its content policies and accused it of failing to remove images of his daughter’s murder from its platforms.

Journalist Alison Parker’s father, Andy Parker, said at a press conference: News Conference On Tuesday, he said the social media company violated its own terms of service by posting videos on Facebook and Instagram showing the attack on his daughter.

Parker, a TV news reporter for WDBJ in Roanoke, Va., and Adam Ward, a cameraman, were murdered by a former colleague in August 2015. attacked them during a broadcast.

Ms. Parker, 24, and Mr. Ward, 27, were pronounced dead at the scene. His former colleague later died by suicide.

In the complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission, Mr. Parker and Georgetown Law’s Civil Rights Clinic said the video continued to resurface on Facebook and Instagram, despite company executives reassuring that footage of the attack would be removed.

“Posting violent content and murder is not freedom of speech, it’s brutality,” Mr Parker said at the press conference.

“These videos violate our policies and we continue to remove them from the platform as we have done since this disturbing incident first occurred,” Facebook said in a statement Wednesday.

“We continue to proactively detect and remove visually similar videos as they are uploaded,” the company added.

The complaint to the FTC stated that Facebook and Instagram did not review flagged or reported content in a timely manner, making it difficult to remove widely shared videos.

“Volunteers who spend a significant amount of time monitoring social media platforms for infringing content often have to wait weeks after reporting the content before receiving any response from the platform; Even after these efforts, videos often remain on the site.”

The complaint stated that volunteers helped Mr Parker report videos on Facebook and Instagram, but videos of the footage resurfaced or persisted.

Two such videos, first posted on the day of the murders six years ago, were reported on Facebook as recently as 6 October, the complaint said. Two more, again posted in 2015, were reported on Instagram on October 5, 2021 and had yet to be removed.

The legal clinic wanted the FTC to change the way Facebook monitors content or face hundreds of millions of dollars in fines.

FTC spokesperson Juliana Gruenwald Henderson, In an email, he said agency officials were “taking these complaints very seriously.” He declined to comment on Mr Parker’s complaint and said “the existence of any investigation is non-public information”.

The complaint was made as tech giants are facing increasing pressure from the government, whose scrutiny has recently landed especially on Facebook. FTC sued revised antitrust lawsuit against the company this year and this month, an informant spoke to Congress about company research The harm that Instagram can do to young people and Facebook’s ability to check for misinformation.

Last year, Mr. Parker and the Georgetown Law Clinic made a complaint The FTC accuses Google-owned YouTube of cheating consumers by refusing to remove videos that violate its terms of service.

“The murder of Alison, shared on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, is just one of the horrific practices that are undermining the very fabric of our society,” Mr Parker said on Tuesday.

Mr. Parker also urged Congress to regulate social media companies, saying, “I hope my FTC complaint gets attention, but ultimately, Congress will have to fix social media before it destroys our country and the world.”

In an interview Wednesday, he also linked his complaint to the testimony given by Frances Haugen, Facebook whistleblowerabout the company’s ability to moderate the content that appears on their platform.

“His testimony claims that social media companies have artificial intelligence and the ability to murder and clean up misinformation, things they say they don’t allow on their platform, but they won’t remove because it affects the bottom line,” he said. “They made money off Alison’s murder.”


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