Activists call for Facebook ‘censorship’ change after Korryn Gaines death

Activists ask Mark Zuckerberg in open letter to alter dealings with police after Facebook Live video stream of womans confrontation with police was cut off

A consortium of activist groups has sent an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg asking him to implement an anti-censorship policy at Facebook in its dealings with law enforcement officials in the wake of the death of Baltimore woman Korryn Gaines.

Gaines, killed just after her Facebook Live video stream of her confrontation with police officers was turned off, was being served an arrest warrant after failing to appear in court for a traffic violation. She was shot dead by police and her five-year-old son, whom she was holding at the time, was wounded.

The archived video from the stream was briefly unavailable as well, in what Facebook called a technical glitch. Police officers said they had asked Facebook to turn off Gainess video stream.

The signatories of the letter say they dont buy the glitch story. If your company agrees to censor peoples accounts at the request of police thereby allowing the police to control what the public sees on Facebook then it is part of the problem, they wrote.

Among the organizations represented in the letter are Color of Change, a political advocacy group that focuses on the rights of African Americans, Demand Progress, MoveOn.org, and Free Press.

We know that you personally have taken a strong stand in support of the Movement for Black Lives, the authors said. Just last month, you hung a massive #blacklivesmatter banner on Facebooks campus. And we hope that you will ensure that Facebook implements an anti-censorship policy that honors and respects black lives.

A Facebook staffer said the company had received the letter and was reviewing it.

Gaines is the ninth black woman to be killed by US police in 2016 and the first of the summer, according to The Counted, the Guardians ongoing record of police killings in the United States. Since her death, 10 other black people have been killed by police.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/aug/24/facebook-live-anti-censorship-policy-korryn-gaines-letter