Social media alerts law enforcement of live-streamed stabbing in Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - For 15 minutes, a Baton Rouge woman’s gruesome parking lot death was streamed live to Instagram by her alleged killer before the feed was deleted by the social media platform.
In a news conference Tuesday, Baton Rouge Police Sgt. L’Jean McKneely said, someone saw the video and notified Facebook, who then notified state police. Louisiana State Police then notified East Baton Rouge, who conducted their investigation and found the vehicle.
BRPD says Earl Lee Johnson Jr., 35, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Janice David, 34, whose body was found stabbed to death inside a vehicle.
A spokesperson with Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, clarified that the platform the video was streamed on was actually Instagram, and not Facebook as other sources originally reported.
According to the company, their community guidelines apply to live video, just as they do with other types of content on Instagram.
“If someone violates our Community Guidelines while using Live, we want to interrupt these streams as quickly as possible when they’re reported to us,” Otway said. “People can report violations during a live broadcast; they don’t have to wait until the live broadcast is over.”
WAFB spoke with a social media expert about how Facebook and Instagram keep track of potentially bad videos.
“There’s a variety of monitors, there’s a variety of agents, which are intelligence agents, which are looking through content feeds on a continuous basis, to try to find anything that’s malicious in intent,” said Ari Lightman, a professor of Digital Media and Marketing at Carnegie Mellon University.
Lightman says social media platforms use a variety of automated mechanisms to flag violent content like the video in this case, and alert law enforcement.
But if there’s one message to get across, it’s that the social media giant is always watching what people post.
“Whether the police have various different stantiations on Facebook, or whether somebody from Facebook actually calls local authorities, I’m not really quite sure how it occurs. But, it’s something that we’re seeing more and more of. But as more and more people use the platform, they’re also looking into any content that might violate their sort of bylaws,” said Professor Lightman.
The Meta spokesperson stressed that there is no place for violence on Instagram, per its policies against Violent and Graphic Content.
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