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Facebook Admits Need To Do Better After 'Facebook Killer' Incident, Disputes Criticisms

18 April 2017, 7:16 am EDT By Aaron Mamiit Tech Times
Facebook has released a new statement regarding the man now known as the Facebook Killer and the videos that he uploaded to the social network. Facebook admitted its shortcomings, but also disputed criticisms on how it handled the situation.  ( Peter Macdiarmid | Getty Images )

In light of the recent events involving the man now known as the Facebook Killer, Facebook has released a statement regarding the incident and its actions after the murderer's videos were uploaded to the social network.

The statement, published on the Facebook Newsroom and written by Facebook VP of Global Operations Justin Osofsky, admits that the social network has some shortcomings, but disputes that Facebook took too long in taking down the Facebook Killer's videos.

Videos Of Facebook Killer Uploaded On Facebook

In the morning of April 16, a 37-year-old man in Cleveland, identified by the authorities as Steve Stephens, uploaded a video of himself approaching 74-year-old Robert Godwin and killing him.

The video is just one of the videos that Stephens uploaded that day, one of which is a Facebook Live stream that features him confessing to the murder. The Facebook Killer also uploaded a series of posts that suggests he had already killed up to 15 people.

Facebook, after taking down Stephens's posts and videos and eventually shutting down his account, described the incident as "horrific," with the content posted by the Facebook Killer not allowed on the social media platform.

Facebook Admits Shortcomings, Disputes Criticisms

In the statement released by Facebook, Osofsky echoed the description of Stephens's posts and videos as "horrific." He then admitted that, after the incident, Facebook is now reviewing its reporting system to make sure that users will easily report videos and other content that violate the social network's standards.

Facebook is now working to improve its reporting process, and reveals that it is always looking for ways to utilize new technologies in keeping the social network a safe environment. Such technologies include artificial intelligence, which helps prevent inappropriate videos from being shared. Facebook is also working on making improvements to its review processes, despite already thousands of people worldwide tasked with reviewing the millions of reported content weekly.

Osofsky, however, disputed criticisms that the videos uploaded by Stephens remained on the social network for too long. While he admitted that Facebook and its teams "need to do better," he explains the timeline involving the uploaded videos.

At 11:09 a.m. PDT, the first video of Stephens was uploaded, revealing his intent to murder. This video was not reported as content that needed to be taken down. At 11:11 a.m., Stephens then uploaded his second video that featured his shooting of Godwin. At 11:22 a.m., Stephens used the now-controversial Facebook Live to confess to the murder, which was reported to Facebook shortly after it ended at 11:27 a.m. It was not until 12:59 p.m. that the video of the shooting was reported to Facebook, and by 1:22 p.m., the account of Stephens and his videos were removed.

Osofsky noted that it took 23 minutes for Facebook to disable Stephens's account after the video of the shooting was reported, but almost two hours after the first report on his Facebook Live session.

It is unclear how many Facebook users were able to watch Stephens's videos before they were taken down. There were claims that it took the social network three hours to take down the murder video of Godwin, but Facebook proved otherwise, albeit with the notion that it needs to be faster at doing so while calling for users to be more vigilant in reporting such content.

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