Facebook Admits Slow Response to Murder Video

John Lister's picture

Facebook has admitted it needs to do more to monitor content after a video of a murder was on the site for just over two hours. Shockingly, it took more than 100 minutes for a user to report the video to Facebook.

The video was one of three produced by the killer, Steve Stephens, who later took his own life while being pursued by police. Stephens posted a video to Facebook saying he planned to commit murder. Two minutes later he posted another video showing his killing of 74-year-old Robert Godwin.

Shortly after that Stephens used Facebook's live broadcast feature to both confess to the murder and claim another 13 killings, something police have not yet verified.

Killing Clip Up For 23 Minutes After Report

According to Facebook's Justin Osofsky, the site received no reports from users about the original video. It received one report about the video of the murder itself an hour and forty-five minutes after it was posted. It also received multiple reports about the live broadcast shortly after it happened.

Facebook then deleted Stephens' account - which also removed all three videos - 23 minutes after receiving the report about the video of the murder. That meant it was online for around two hours and eight minutes. It also meant Facebook took just under two hours to take action after getting reports about the live broadcast confessing to the killing. (Source: bbc.co.uk)

Artificial Intelligence Could Vet Clips

In reality, the sheer amount of content posted to Facebook - including more than 350 million pictures a day - means there's no way for staff to manually check content either in advance or after it appears online, so relying on user reports is key.

Osofsky says one possibility is that people find it too difficult or troublesome to report inappropriate content. He says "we are reviewing our reporting flows to be sure people can report videos and other material that violates our standards as easily and quickly as possible." (Source: fb.com)

The company is also exploring ways in which artificial intelligence systems could automate the process of looking for inappropriate content.

What's Your Opinion?

Are you surprised nobody reported the content? Why do you think people who saw the videos didn't tell Facebook? Is 23 minutes too long to take to remove a video showing a murder?

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Dennis Faas's picture

With all the fake news posted online (and especially on Facebook), and considering that Facebook receives 350 million photos online, I think that 23 minutes to take down a video after receiving complaints is a pretty quick response. That aside I don't know how it would be possible for a program to vet video content and be able to tell if it was fake or real, any better than a human would.

ecash's picture

Lets ask..
AND WHAT WOULD THE COPS DO, with no evidence??
If someone would report this to the cops and give the FB location...THE COPS could do something..
Otherwise they have to LOOK for a body, then TRY to figure out WHO DID IT..