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Free Expression

Who Is Responsible for Stopping Live-Streamed Crimes?


The horrific live-streamed rape of a 15-year-old Chicago girl on Facebook this week has once again brought up questions about the responsibility social media companies and users have to prevent or report crimes that are carried out online.

At least 40 people watched the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl by five or six men on Facebook Live, authorities said Monday. None of the spectators called police, who only found out about the attack after the girl’s mother showed the city’s police superintendent screenshots of the video.

Chicago Police immediately contacted Facebook who took down the disturbing video.

Social media companies can do better by clearly highlighting “report abuse” buttons and by training their employees very clearly on a protocol when things like crimes are flagged, said Emma Llansó, director of the Free Expression project at the Center for Democracy and Technology.

But that system only works if users use those functions and actually flag, she said.

“Users are a big part of the content moderation process,” she said.

Full story here.