Murder In Cleveland Streamed Via Facebook Live: Facebook Calls It ‘Horrific’
Police are still on the hunt for a Cleveland man who murdered a civilian, took a video of the account, and published said footage on Facebook.
Cleveland Murder Streamed On Facebook Live
The video appears to show a man, identified by the police as Steve Stephens, 37 years old, approaching a 74-year-old man and killing him.
Shortly after the murder, reports say that Stephen began a Facebook Live broadcast. Both the video and the stream were part of numerous posts Stephen made on Sunday, April 16.
The context of the posts, as claimed by Stephens himself, suggests that he had already killed up to 15 people, an act that according to him is part of an "Easter Day slaughter."
The footage was broadcast as Stephens rode around Cleveland, apparently perusing for victims as part of the slaughter. In one update, Stephens claimed that he was "working on 14" after killing 13 people already. This update was made seemingly before he shot the 74-year-old victim, Robert Goodwin Sr.
Stephens appears to have chosen Goodwin Sr. at random, killing him without any provocation of some sort prior. The victim has been described by grieving family members as a person who would "give you the shirt off his back."
In another update, the murder count had increased to 15, with Stephens noting that the bodies would be discovered in an abandoned house. His whereabouts are still undetermined at present, although police can confirm that he also murdered another civilian in a residential area on East 93rd Street.
Facebook has now taken down the posts, in addition to Stephens's own account, although it took them hours to do so. The company has also made a statement about the Facebook Live broadcasts.
"This is a horrific crime and we do not allow this kind of content on Facebook," a company spokesperson told BuzzFeed. "We work hard to keep a safe environment on Facebook, and are in touch with law enforcement in emergencies when there are direct threats to physical safety."
The Dangers Of Facebook Live
Though the content has been pulled, it can't be determined whether Facebook acted on its own accord or simply took notice of the reports, hence, the takedown. The latter possibility is a pressing notion, particularly because it reiterates the lack of — if not the underwhelming — monitoring system for Facebook Live videos.
Facebook has been criticized in the past for its lax policies with regard to Facebook Live, where anything, even a murder, can be streamed without immediate repercussions.
For the record, Facebook's policy prohibits content that glorifies or incites violence, but such a rule can prove difficult to enforce on a platform that encourages people to stream and broadcast events in real time. Until Facebook facilitates a foolproof system of supervising streams, then the Facebook Live platform remains vulnerable to undetected broadcasts of violence, sex, and other types of content that go against the site's policy.
A sexual assault, for instance, was similarly streamed via Facebook Live last month.