(CBS) — Just how responsible is Facebook for keeping disturbing and violent scenes off of its site, and what steps can we take to report crimes we might witness by chance?
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole went looking for answers.
As we innocently point and click it’s becoming possible to come face to face with a crime, but in that moment what should we do?
“I would simply call the police,” Jerry Temaner says.
But authorities need all sorts of information, such as where the crime is even happening.
It took Facebook three hours to remove Steve Stevens’ video, which apparently shows him shoot Robert Goodwin Sr. to death. It is the latest in a growing list of crimes posted to the site — some emanating from Chicago.
“I think Facebook and other tech companies need to think about getting on the ethics wagon,” says Don Heider, founder of the Loyola Center for Digital Ethics and Policy.
He adds: “I think there should be a clear way to report it.”
He notes Facebook has a right-corner dropdown menu for flagging questionable content, but it can be difficult to navigate. Facebook has also been less than forthcoming with how it even handles alerts from users.
In a statement, Facebook called the crime “horrific,” saying, “We work hard to keep a safe environment” and that the company is “in touch with law enforcement in emergencies.”
But should they do more?
“Social media companies like Facebook refuse to acknowledge they are publishers,” Heider says. “They basically still are taking the stand that they are merely platforms and so they are not necessarily responsible for what gets posted.”
Heider thinks all of the companies should have an ethicist on staff with immediate powers to take down content