Father of slain journalist lashes out at Facebook over violent video

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WASHINGTON – The family of a murdered journalist is asking the Federal Trade Commission to take action against Facebook for failing to remove online footage of her gunshot death.

Andy Parker claims the company is violating its own terms of service by hosting videos on Facebook and its sister service Instagram that glorify violence.

His daughter, TV reporter Alison Parker, and cameraman Adam Ward were killed by a former colleague while reporting for Roanoke, the WDBJ-TV channel in Virginia in August 2015. Video footage of the shooting – some of which were taken by the shooter – repeatedly surfaced on Facebook and Instagram despite assurances from senior executives that it will be removed, according to a complaint filed Tuesday by Parker and attorneys at the Georgetown Law Civil Rights Clinic.

“The reality is that Facebook and Instagram are putting the onus on victims and their families to control graphic content – forcing them to relive their worst moments over and over again to curb the proliferation of these videos,” the complaint states.

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The complaint states that Facebook engages in deceptive marketing practices by violating its own terms of service and distorting the security of the platform and making it difficult for users to remove harmful content.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Andy Parker said at a press conference announcing the FTC complaint that he also wanted Congress to take action, echoing some of the calls made last week by Frances Haugen, whistleblower and former Facebook employee, who accused the company of harming children, inciting political violence and fueling disinformation.

Parker said he agreed with Haugen on the need to remove some of the protections afforded by a 25-year-old law – commonly known as “Section 230” – which protects Internet companies from liability for it. that users post.

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He previously worked with the Georgetown Legal Clinic to file a similar FTC complaint against Google and its YouTube service. The FTC generally does not disclose whether or not it has decided to investigate a complaint.

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O’Brien reported from Providence, Rhode Island.

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