The Rev. Jesse Jackson and officials in the Chicago area are calling on Facebook to drop its Live function for 30 days, in the wake of the murder of Cleveland grandfather Robert Godwin, whose shooting was broadcast on the social network.
Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin, Jackson and Father Michael Pfleger, a Chicago activist, are calling for the moratorium, effective as soon as possible, in order to give Facebook a chance to create a mechanism that would allow for instant removal of disturbing and offensive content.
All three stood in front of Facebook’s Chicago offices on Friday to seek a meeting on the issue. Godwin murder suspect Steve Stephens had announced on Facebook that he was going to kill someone, then posted video of him shooting Godwin, 74, on the street. The video of the Easter Sunday murder was reported but it took almost two hours for those reports to reach Facebook staff, who then disabled Stephens’ account. Stephens killed himself in Erie, Pa., on April 18 as police closed in on him.
The moratorium would serve as “a time out” to help Facebook figure out how to prevent people from using it “as a platform to release their anger, their fears and their foolishness,” Jackson told USA TODAY.
“The moratorium is … an opportunity for tech companies, elected officials, law enforcement, community based organizations and civil rights advocates and others,” Jackson said.
Boykin told ABC7 in Chicago that the group wants to compel Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg to create a mechanism that would help remove disturbing content more quickly.
“We have asked him to put an emergency button, a 911-type button to get videos to the front of the line to make sure they don’t stay up for several hours,” Boykin told ABC7.
Facebook could not be reached late Friday.
Contributing: Jessica Guynn