Facebook Live has been used for quite a number of purposes but the possibilities of the platform was most recognized when it was used by the girlfriend of Philando Castile (a black man shot by a Minnesota police officer) last year.
Diamond Reynolds’ decision to live-stream the aftermath of the Philando Castile shooting on Facebook Live paid off in the responsiveness of news media to the entire story and provided some clarification for certain notes on the case.
Since then, Facebook Live has been touted as a vital resource but as with most things that have a good side, a bad side soon emerges. Chicago Police are currently searching for as many as six people involved in the sexual assault of a teenage girl that was broadcast on Facebook Live.
According to a police spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi, at least five to six males were sexually assaulting the 15-year-old while broadcasting live. The Facebook Live video came to light after the girl’s mother approached Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson on Monday.
The mother informed the officer that her daughter had been missing for 24 hours and showed him the screengrabs of the live broadcast, which indicated that at least 40 people were watching at the time.
Forty people were watching a teenage girl get sexually assaulted by six males and no one bothered to report the incident. According to Guglielmi, the Police finally contacted Facebook and the video is no longer on Facebook.
A Facebook spokesman said,
“Crimes like this are hideous and we do not allow that kind of content on Facebook. We take our responsibility to keep people safe on Facebook very seriously and will remove videos that depict sexual assault and are shared to glorify violence.”
The assaulters have not yet been found but the girl has been reunited with her mother and is being treated in a hospital. Guglielmi said that some people are identifiable from the video and the girl knew at least one of her alleged attackers and may have been acquainted with the others.
This is just further proof that any gain in technology is still subject to the uses humans put it to. Facebook’s community standards state that it removes content, disables accounts and works with law enforcement in cases of genuine risk of physical harm or direct threats to public safety.
Lapses, however, exist when Facebook users fail to report offensive material to staff dedicated to responding to such reports.