Monday, April 24, 2017

MEDIA - A Killing OnLine

"A murder video posted online raises debate about Facebook's responsibility" PBS NewsHour 4/17/2017


SUMMARY:  A video of a man being shot to death was posted on Facebook Sunday and stayed online for nearly three hours before it was taken down.  A man identified as Steve Stephens is said to have recorded himself confronting and killing Robert Godwin Sr. in Cleveland, raising questions about the role of social media sites.  John Yang talks to Emily Dreyfuss of Wired magazine.

JOHN YANG (NewsHour):  The 57-second video shows a man identified as Steve Stephens driving the streets of Cleveland while talking on the phone.  He then steps from the car and confronts Robert Godwin Sr., a 74-year-old retired foundry worker, a father of nine and a grandfather of 14, and shoots Godwin dead.

The online killing reportedly remained on the site for nearly three hours before Facebook removed it.

In a statement late today, the company said that the video has “no place on Facebook and goes against our policies and everything we stand for.”  The company said it's reviewing how it operates "to be sure people can report videos that violate our standards as quickly as possible.”

This episode raises fresh questions about the role and responsibility of social media sites like Facebook.

Before the latest statement, I spoke with Emily Dreyfuss, a senior staff writer at Wired magazine.

I began by asking her what Facebook could do.

EMILY DREYFUSS, Wired:  First of all, you know, it is true that Facebook is working very hard to keep videos like this off of its site.

It's easy in a moment like this to say, you know, this is absurd that it was on Facebook for even three hours.  But the fact is that a large apparatus of content moderation and work went into the effort to be able to even get the video down after three hours.  And in order for it to be removed, that means that people on Facebook had to flag it as inappropriate, and then that flag had to be sent to people that Facebook employs all over the world to get rid of content like this.

And they took it down.  And, sometimes, this can take up to 48 hours.  So, three hours here is not even long in the scheme of things.  Now, Facebook could do more.  And they are working hard to figure out what they can do.

One of those things would be to use A.I. and allow artificial intelligence to help humans who are having to flag this sort of terrible, gruesome material so that we don't see it.

One of the problems is that A.I. is not really necessarily ready and up to the task of that yet, so Facebook is still trying to figure out how to make this work.

No comments: